Queen & Royal Family attend first day of Royal Ascot – Sophie almost falls on Kate!

Today The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Camilla, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Duke of York, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie attended opening day of racing at Royal Ascot, a tradition that Her Majesty has upheld throughout most of her life.

The Queen and Prince Philip on the opening day of Royal Ascot. Picture by Stephen Lock / i-Images

The famous royal arrival saw a carriage possession before the racing could get started. The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and The Duke of York were seated in the first carriage with the The Lord Vestey, followed by Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall, who travelled with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.


Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie at Royal Ascot. Picture by Stephen Lock / i-Images

In the third carriage were The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with The Earl and Countess of Wessex, with Peter and Autumn Phillips, joined by William’s aunt and uncle, Lady Jane Fellowes and Lord Fellowes at the end of the procession.


As the carriages approached the viewing stands, the band of the Grenadier Guards played the National Anthem and the crowds applauded. Amongst these crowds were Princess Anne, Zara and Mike Tindall and Carole and Michael Middleton.


Sophie, Countess of Wessex, seemed to lose her footing as she went to exit her carriage, and almost fell on to her niece, Catherine. However, The Duchess of Cambridge broke the fall by catching Sophie. Both women laughed off the affair.

Before the race a minute’s silence was held in memory of the Grenfell Tower fire and the recent Manchester and London terror attacks, a silence organised by the racecourse. Ascot is donating £100,000 from the ticket revenues to the British Red Cross and London Fire Relief Fund charities, and collection boxes have been placed at the entrance and exit gates for spectators to donate.

The male royals – Philip, Charles, William and Edward – in their morning suits, removed their top hats and bowed their heads alongside Her Majesty, other Royals and race-goers to remember those who had died or were injured in the tragedies.

The Queen was dressed in a lime green crepe coat by Stuart Parvin and a white and green floral dress, defying the bookies’ odds that The Queen would wear blue.

Royal Ascot was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne, and in 1749 The Duke of Cumberland established the royal meet as a Tuesday-to-Friday fixture. The race has been a prominent feature of the annual royal calendar since those early days, with it tipped to be The Queen’s favourite event of the year.

In the foreword of the official programme, Her Majesty wrote the following:

“I always look forward to my time at Royal Ascot. The tremendous racing and the gathering of 300,000 people and more than 400 horses from around the world makes this event unique. Last year, horses trained outside Great Britain won 14 of the 30 races and I am again delighted to welcome many overseas competitors. In 1711, Queen Anne declared Ascot to be “ideal for horses to gallop at full stretch.” Ever since, the finest horses have raced here and that will certainly be the case again this week. I hope all those attending this year’s Royal Ascot – owners, trainers, jockeys, staff and spectators – will have an enjoyable time and take away some very special memories.”

The Royals watched (and cheered) as the races progressed. Lady Aurelia and jockey John Velazquez won the King’s Stand Stakes – William and Catherine were introduced to the winning rider as he lifted the trophy. Prince Charles and Camilla handed over awards for the St James’s Palace Stakes to jockey James Doyle, and the

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