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Royal Ascot is a quintessentially British sporting tradition like few others and is the flagship event of the Flat racing season.

With a host of Group 1 races across five days in June, Royal Ascot is of course noted for its top class action on the track, but the meeting means so much more. 

The pageantry and traditions are of course celebrated in Royal style, with the monarchy's presence making it a standout occasion. 

Watch every race across the five days from Tuesday 20th June – Saturday 24th June via the bet365 Sports Live Streaming service.

WhatRoyal Ascot 2023 
WhereRoyal Ascot, Ascot Racecourse
WhenTuesday 20th June – Saturday 24th June 
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming, ITV, Sky Sports Racing

The Royal procession

Royal Ascot dates back to 1768, though the meeting is generally considered to have veered towards it's current format in 1807 when the Gold Cup was first held. 

Until 1939, Royal Ascot was the only race meeting held at the racecourse.

The Royal Meeting in June is a five-day affair, where high fashion and exquisite millinery take centre stage alongside the equine talent on display. 

One of the highlights of the meeting occurs each day before racing via the Royal Procession at 2.00pm, when the monarch and other members of the Royal Family arrive down the straight mile in the Royal Landaus, accompanied by the playing of the National Anthem and the raising of the Royal Standard. This tradition was started in 1825 by King George IV. 

All eyes are on the formation of the Royal carriages and the finery on display from the royals and their invited guests.

Royal traditions

Ascot Racecourse was founded by Queen Anne in 1711, and has since received the patronage of a further 11 monarchs, with King Charles set to increase that to a dozen in 2023. 

The Ascot summer race meeting officially became a Royal week in 1911. 

Many of the races at Royal Ascot have intrinsic links to the Royal Family via their race names. These include the Queen Anne Stakes, the St James's Palace Stakes, the Buckingham Palace Stakes, the Royal Hunt Cup, the Windsor Castle Stakes and the Queen's Vase. 

This week has become Britain's most popular race meeting, welcoming around 300,000 visitors over five days, all dressed up in their finest clothes and hats.

Royal Ascot enclosures

The monarchs watch the racing action unfold from the Royal Enclosure, which deploys a very strict dress code that sees gents wearing grey, navy or black morning dress and top hat, and women wearing formal daywear and a hat with a solid base of 4 inches or more in diameter. 

The Royal Ascot dress code can be traced back to the early 19th century. 

The Queen Anne Enclosure is Royal Ascot's premier public enclosure, granting guests access to the parade ring, grandstand and trackside lawns. 

The dress code in the Queen Anne enclosure is slightly more relaxed but still very formal. 

The Windsor Enclosure offers a more informal and relaxed atmosphere, with no formal dress code, although guests are encouraged to wear "smart daywear". 

Since 2017 Royal Ascot also includes the Village Enclosure from the Thursday to Saturday of the meeting. It offers a combination of exciting street food, al fresco dining, live music and unique views of the track.

Famous Royal winners

The late Queen Elizabeth II was famed for her love of horses and involvement in racing. 

Throughout her reign, there were many famous 'Royal winners', the first coming just two weeks after her coronation with Choir Boy in the 1953 Hunt Cup.

However, none were more notable perhaps than when Estimate won the Gold Cup in 2013 - the first time in the race's then 207-year history that it has been won by a reigning monarch. 

Trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Estimate won the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot in 2012, and returned a year later to win the big prize in the hands of Ryan Moore. 

In one of the great images of Royal Ascot, the Queen was pictured willing her horse home in the closing stages of the race and she was still beaming as she patted Estimate in the winner's enclosure following his success.

Singing Around The Bandstand

Since the 1970s racegoers have gathered at the end of each day of the Royal Meeting for a joyous choir at the Bandstand. 

The late Lady Jinny Beaumont, wife of Sir Nicky Beaumont, Clerk of the Course from 1969 to 1994, first introduced this communal tradition that has become synonymous with Royal Ascot. 

The popularity of the post-race sing along grew as the years rolled on and a bandstand was duly erected in 2007 to recognise this prized Royal Ascot tradition. 

Royal Enclosure members and Queen Anne Enclosure ticket holders can gather around the Bandstand on the Plaza Lawns from 6.20pm to join in, with the playing including such numbers as When The Saints Go Marching In, Daydream Believer, Can't Take My Eyes Off You, You'll Never Walk Alone, We'll Meet Again and Land Of Hope And Glory.

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