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Due to cost, lack of interest and participation Racing Nation will go offline on 25 February 2024

Royals, hats and tails still de rigueur but this year’s Ascot will feel different | Greg Wood


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The first meeting since Queen Elizabeth’s death shows no sign of waning in popularity even if King Charles does not share his mother’s passion for racing

Even in the final years of her reign, when first the Covid epidemic and then failing health prevented Queen Elizabeth II from attending Royal Ascot in person, she was still a presence at her favourite course during the biggest week of its year. “Though she wasn’t here last year, she was still at Windsor Castle and watching the whole affair,” Nick Smith, Ascot’s director of racing and public affairs, said this week. “She did still feel very much part of the event.”

The Royal meeting was often said to be the first – and most sacrosanct – engagement in the late Queen’s private diary each year and she did not miss a single day at Royal Ascot during her long reign until Covid sent the meeting behind closed doors in 2020.

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