Day 2 of Royal Ascot 2015 and I am in a serious dilemma. I am sitting opposite the royal box with formal seating where I am in eye of HRH Queen Elizabeth. I know there are not many 'Royalists' left in Australia, but I adore the royal family and have been brought up with very English values. With the new sporting of bright pink hair at the back, I had been advised that it was not in 'proper standing' in 'Royal Enclosure' guidelines to have pink hair, although I do think HRH did get a tip in regard for wearing 'Fushia' one of her favourite colours on the first day.
I was desperately waiting for a delivery of a full brimmed hat from a notable English Millinery, but unfortunately did not arrive until later in the day. I was getting dressed and it was not until the last minute with correspondence with UK Milliner that we decided the courier was not going to get the hat to me as promised. It was totally out of my and Milliners control, so I just had to work with what I had. That meant that I had to pin all my pink hair back and put in masses of blonde extensions as nothing would cover the back of my head and put on Rebecca Share Millinery. Not to worry, it did look fabulous. Lucky it was not Ladies day, (Thursday) as this is where you wear your most amazing attire.
Being also in the Royal Enclosure and Parade Ring Restaurant, the most exclusive seating and dining besides the 'Royal Box' I had to play down any of my loves of fashion and be quite subdued. Australian designer Carla Zampatti never disappoints as it can be dressed up and down and qualify for any event. In this case a quick glimpse to and from HRH.
Being Wednesday at Royal Ascot, the hats are starting to become bigger, brighter and the buzz of British Best is wondering around. I have a ball as always photographing all the hats and chatting to people. Including a gentleman called 'John' who gave me every statistic in cricket and racing since 1920. I love the races, but ensured to bring 'Hard Luck Motty' the following year so he could bite of his ear about the cricket; just not my thing. I did give 'John', the job of being my 'spotter', bless him, he thought he was onto it. He was giving me the heads up of the who is who in UK racing and which hat he liked. I made a great friend for a couple of days and had a few laughs. (Same bat time next year John)
Something that seems to be celebrated in the UK is that all women of all ages seem to love dressing impeccably. The wearing of hats seems to be embraced as well with the ever fabulous Brim making a big statement at the Royal Enclosure entrance.
Carloe Denford and Paul from the Hat Magazine and I had a fabulous time looking and musing over hats, and there were a few different ones that stood out including an Australian Thermoplastic piece that was stunning.
As to the racing in UK, it is very different in gradient of the track and the density and humidity in the air so the horses are slighter and built allot finer. Muscle definition in the horses was very different compared with Australia. I did have my way of betting, and I was on a winner and sported a new way of betting which gave me winners, I dare not tell 'Hard Luck Motty', because as soon as he gambles on something you know it is going to loose.
Parade Ring with signature Bollinger Cured Salmon with Black Caviar to begin, followed with Lobster thermidor is hard to displease any food critic and the view accompanies the cuisine. You over look the parade ring and then make your way next to the 'Royal Box' to see the race and the winners. Definitely the best seats in the house. Mind you, it costs a small fortune and is why I only opted one day of this elegant dining as it is exceptional but expensive washed down with Bollinger Rose.
My highlight definitely was being within arms length of the Queen and I think she is a marvellous lady and Monarch. She has lived an amazing life and is a masterful horsewoman as well as a thinking woman. I know she is not everyone's cup of tea, but when you think of her longevity in a family that has ruled for centuries, it is awe inspiring and I love the tradition of Parades, British Formalities as well as taking on the fashion of the British where the tradition of being a lady is as strict as the way you pour a cup of tea.
Enjoy the entrance of the beautiful ladies arriving and the horses. It was an amazing day and met up with old friends Sally and John who I know from Panoramic dining and insisted I join them for afternoon drinks with their good friend Jane and Paul, who had me in stitches all afternoon.
At the end of the day, I was so excited to meet a Racing Fashion Fan, who had purchased a Peter Pilotto Dress to team for the day with a Royal Blue Hat, and quite appropriate in honour of the company.
Yes, I did seem to wander nonchalantly almost through onto the 'Royal Box', but I did not think it was the Lady like thing to do, so I did stop at the door and took a quick snap on my Iphone. Nothing like seeing the Queen as she had her last Royal visit to Australia during the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
Thank you to all my friends and company that I shared that day, it was an honour including meeting Simon Baker, the mentalist and all the staff in Parade Ring Restaurant.