Royal Ascot is considered to be the piece de resistance of the British Social Season. Thousands flock to Ascot racecourse each June to indulge in the glamour and thrill of the flat racing season. The real jewel in the crown for many is the chance to see The Queen during the royal procession. However, as coronavirus fears continue to grow, there is a chance that The Queen could be absent from this year’s royal meeting and even concerns as to whether Royal Ascot will go ahead at all.
It has recently been announced that this year’s Grand National will not take place next month due to coronavirus, leaving many to wonder if other horse racing events of the summer may also be at risk. Boris Johnson initially declared that there was no need to cancel large social events in the UK but as coronavirus cases continue to rise, we are seeing more and more event cancellations and advice to ban all non-essential contact. Although it is too early to say how Royal Ascot will be affected by coronavirus, let’s look at what Ascot themselves have to say on the situation.
Ascot’s statement on Coronavirus
As it stands, Ascot have not made a definitive comment on the fate of Royal Ascot. They recently released a statement on their website outlining how they are remaining in close communication with the Government about the impact of coronavirus but cannot currently state how the situation will affect summer race days. They have asked for patience and stated that they are currently considering all the options available. Once they are in a position to reveal more, they will update their website.
How many people visit Royal Ascot?
Around 300,000 people visit Royal Ascot each year over the course of five days. It is one of the world’s most prestigious horse racing events but given the rise of the coronavirus pandemic, being amongst sizeable crowds such as this could prove problematic. The fears come after the BHA announced that British horse racing will be suspended until the end of April.
The Queen and Royal Ascot
It has been announced that the Queen has cancelled royal visits over the coming weeks due to coronavirus fears. However, a palace spokesperson has confirmed that this currently only affects forthcoming visits and other events, such as Royal Ascot, will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
The coronavirus outbreak has also impacted further royal engagements, particularly Princess Beatrice’s wedding which was due to take place on 29th May. The Queen’s annual garden parties at Buckingham Palace will also potentially be affected by the outbreak.
The Queen is approaching 94 years of age so would be at great risk to coronavirus, hence why this is a decision not to be taken lightly. Throughout the five day meeting, The Queen is also accompanied by other members of the Royal family such as Prince William, The Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Anne.
Every year, racegoers look forward to seeing the Queen’s Royal Ascot outfits. Last year a particular favourite for many was a lime green number which she wore on day five of the event. Royal Ascot is just as much about the fashion and it is for the horse racing. No doubt, race goers will be saddened not to witness this year’s royal fashions, should this be the case.
The Queen has never missed Royal Ascot in the entirety of her 68 year reign. Royal Ascot is said to be one of the Queen’s favourite events so no doubt she will be greatly disappointed to miss the the royal meeting. The Queen is an avid horse racing enthusiastic so undoubtedly Ascot will explore every option possible.
How to stay updated about Royal Ascot
Royal Ascot and British horse racing in general is a hot topic in the news currently. Ascot themselves are frequently updating their own website with statements, as further information from the government and the relevant authorities is released regarding coronavirus. Keep your eye out for updates and, above all, stay safe!