Preparing For Ascot: Gaining Entrance and Royal Watching

Royal Hats Guest poster Charles continues sharing his preparations attend Ascot this year with an in-depth look at how to gain entrance to the Royal Enclosure and his tips for royal watching. Enjoy! 

You may be wondering how does one obtain badges to the Royal Enclosure? There are a few ways:

Royal Enclosure members – one can be sponsored to become a member of the Royal Enclosure by having two current members who themselves have attended the event at least five years sponsor you.

One-day badge – a non-member can attend on a given day by purchasing a full day package, including a badge allowing access into the Royal Enclosure as well as luncheon, tea, and beverages.  (Very expensive!)

Non-UK Citizens – guests from foreign countries can contact their country’s ambassador for forms to request a badge to the Royal Enclosure.  A letter of reference, attesting to the good standing of the person who is requesting the forms, must be submitted to the ambassador and written by an upstanding member of the community, e.g., physician, attorney, minister.

Guest of Royal Enclosure member – on the Friday and Saturday of the meeting Royal Enclosure members are allowed to bring up to two guests, but the members must accompany the guests.

Will I meet the Queen or any other members of the Royal Family?  The chances of meeting Her Majesty The Queen or any other senior members of the Royal Family are actually very low.  The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, enter each day by carriage in the Royal Procession.  The procession makes its way down the actual racecourse for approximately one mile before turning into the Grandstand and finally into the Parade Ring.

The procession usually consists of three or four carriages including various members of the Royal Family and guests invited personally by The Queen, who earlier dined at Windsor Castle before making their way to Ascot.  There are many locations to view the Royal Procession and that is one’s best opportunity to actually see a member of the Royal Family.

At the end of the procession, the Queen and the others from the carriages, as well as other members of the Royal Family who did not travel via carriage, gather in the Parade Ring and then make their way on to the Royal Box to view the racing. Occasionally, the Queen does make a visit to the Pre-Parade Ring where she takes a close look at horses she is personally interested in, often horses she personally owns and will be running in one of the day’s races.

Thanks, Charles! For some reason, I imagined the Parade Ring to be larger than it actually is. In his next post, Charles will share about men’s fashion at Ascot. Stay tuned!

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9 thoughts on “Preparing For Ascot: Gaining Entrance and Royal Watching

  1. These are the perfect tidbits to know about how this marvelous event functions. I will never be able to attend but this makes it all seem so much fun and Royal Ascot might be the best people-watching experience in the entire world.

  2. Thanks so much for the informative and interesting posts. I’ve always been curious about the Royal Enclosure.

  3. Thank you for this detailed behind the scene glimpse of the Royal Enclosure and the access opportunities. Tremendously enjoyable reading for a royal watcher.

  4. The parade ring is rather small but it was actually completely re-designed several years ago when Ascot Racecourse was updated and renovated. The parade ring now has stadium-type stands that allow for many more people to view the Royal Procession as it enters the ring, with better viewing angles, than previously. The standing room sections (no seating) are divided by enclosures so there are sections specifically for those who hold Royal Enclosure badges, as well as sections for other types of badge holders. The first time we attended I insisted we go early to find a spot close to where the carriage procession ends and the Queen et al would disembark the carriages. We did get some very good close-up shots of the Royal Family and others. But it was a long, hot wait in the sun and something I’m not sure I’d do again. In the Royal Enclosure, one can easily walk up to the fence along the actual racecourse, where the procession passes, to see the carriages and their occupants, without having to wait for a long time. Yet one more of the many perks accorded to those holding badges to the Royal Enclosure.

    Jake, I’d love to invite you. But notice that members of the RE are able to invite guests only on Friday and Saturday of the meeting. I’ve never attended on those days but I understand it is a madhouse – lots and lots of people. Actually the most enjoyable day is Wednesday, because it is the least attended.

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