The Countess of Wessex raised her hands in joy and cheered after apparently backing a Royal Ascot winner that came in at odds of 18-1.
Sophie was pictured cheering on Loving Dream, ridden by Robert Havlin, before it crossed the line first in the Ribblesdale Stakes on Ladies’ Day.
It is believed the Queen does not bet but it is likely members of her family enjoy a flutter when at the races.
The Princess Royal and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, led the royal party at the Berkshire meet and were also joined at the course by the Queen’s grandchildren Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips.
Zara arrived with a group of friends – Dolly Maude, TV presenter Natalie Pinkham and Chanelle McCoy the wife of the great champion jump jockey Sir Tony McCoy known to the racing world as AP McCoy.
One visitor to Royal Ascot caught the eye of many – Jimbo, a Labrador retriever cross and a guide dog, who was wearing a little hat at a jaunty angle.
His owner David Adams, 77, joined by his wife Judith, was taking a break from an epic fundraising challenge, climbing the equivalent of the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, by walking 197 times up a local hill – 29,032 feet in total.
Mr Adams, from the village of Priors Marston in Warwickshire, and who is blind, said: “I’ve climbed it 120 times so that’s 77 to go, and I hope to finish on my birthday, August 8 when I’ll be 78.
“My knees were a bit sore at the beginning but they’re pretty good now, but it’s always nice to take a day off and have a glass of champagne.”
An array of weird and wonderful hats were on display to mark Ladies’ Day, with many milliners using the event to show off their creations.
Hat designer Lisa Tan wore an unusual geometric piece made of fuchsia coloured straw and featuring feathers that wrapped around her head.
As Royal Ascot was closed to the public last year and is now welcoming racegoers in limited numbers, she said: “It feels fantastic to be back, it seems a little quiet but as soon as the racing starts the atmosphere is back – it’s great to have some normality.”
But some punters were turned away after their headgear was deemed not suitable for the royal enclosure – the most exclusive area of the racecourse.
Tracy Rose, 60, a milliner from London, who has been attending Royal Ascot for decades, was angry after she was turned away when she tried to enter in her extremely large art deco-style hat featuring roses.
She said of Royal Ascot officials: “They were saying my hat is too big. This is the 40th year I’ve been coming and I wear big hats.
“This is 2021, this is all about diversity of people, people being who they are not who we think they should be.”
Royal Ascot has extensive details on its website about the type and format of clothing permitted and says “…fancy dress, novelty and branded or promotional clothing is not permitted on site.”
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