Royal Ascot behind closed doors: 8 things we’ll miss about not attending the Flat racing highlight

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  • Racing fans are delighted that Royal Ascot goes ahead this year, albeit behind closed doors (16-20 June). It will leave a void in many people’s socal lives and here are just some of the things we will miss about not attending the Royal meeting...

    Getting dressed up

    Planning a dazzling outfit for Royal Ascot always gives racegoers the feel-good factor, especially at this Flat racing highlight because, let’s be honest, there is nothing too crazy or eccentric. Bold colours and imaginative designs are always on display and we will miss seeing the array of colour this year. And not forgetting the men all suited and booted, we will miss the sight of top hats and tails congregating in the Royal Enclosure. At least it gives us an extra 12 months to plan something even more special for 2021.

    The Royal entourage

    Watching the The Queen in her beautiful horse-drawn carriage arriving at Royal Ascot is very special and something that you never forget and for many of us, the only time we will get to see Her Majesty in the flesh. It is the first time The Queen will be absent from Royal Ascot in her 68-year reign.

    Getting up close to the horses

    For Flat racing fans, Royal Ascot is the meeting of the calendar and gets the excited butterflies going in your tummy. We get to watch the best horses go head-to-head, battling it out in top-class races. While we are all so happy that Royal Ascot goes ahead behind closed doors, watching it on TV won’t be quite the same, no atmosphere to soak up and no buzz from the crowd, willing the horses on. For me, watching the horses walk around the paddock pre-race is also a highlight, getting up close to the beautiful beasts, their coats gleaming, and taking in the smell of their freshly painted hooves.

    The colourful headwear

    The dresses may be bold and beautiful but the headwear at Royal Ascot can range from anything, from the elegant and demure to the downright absurd. But it wouldn’t be Royal Ascot as we know it without the wonderful headpieces and we will miss seeing them ­– Royal Ascot will certainly be less colourful this time round.

    A cheeky bet

    For many, putting a cheeky £5 each-way bet is something of a novelty and Royal Ascot is a great chance to enjoy a little bet and get involved in the high-octane action. Obviously, bets can still be placed online, but it isn’t the same as fighting through the crowds to put a bet on with the on-course bookmakers just before the race kicks off.

    A high-heeled problem

    Personally, Royal Ascot is the one time I pull out the high heels for a day at the races. So perhaps I won’t miss the sore feet but I will miss the comedy that comes with getting your heel stuck in the grass, and attempting to dislodge as elegantly as possible.

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    Enjoying a beverage

    Sharing a jug of Pimms with friends in the sunshine is always a fond memory and for many a picnic in the car park is a popular annual highlight. Picnics and beverages might be confined to the gardens this year but I am sure racing fans will make the most of it and get into the Royal Ascot spirit from the comfort of their own homes.

    Singing around the bandstand

    A true Royal Ascot tradition is always ending the day’s racing joining in with the singing around the bandstand – old favourite “Sweet Caroline” always goes down well with the often blurry-eyed racegoers. The grandstands may fall silent this year but 2021 will no doubt make up for the Royal Ascot we have all missed out on.

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