Queen braves downpours to join thousands at Royal Ascot
The heavens opened on Wednesday afternoon, leaving racegoers running cover.
The Queen braved summer showers at Royal Ascot as the bad weather failed to stop her or thousands of spectators enjoying the thoroughbred racing.
Torrential downpours left racegoers soaked at the height of the sporting spectacle, which attracts top jockeys, trainers and owners from across the world.
But after sheltering under umbrellas, donning disposable macs or running for cover when the heavens opened late in the afternoon on Wednesday, the racing fans continued with the equestrian fun.
Royal Ascot also attracts famous faces, and among the spectators were Coronation Street star Helen Flanagan, former Strictly Come Dancing judge Dame Darcey Bussell and actress Patricia Hodge.
The Coronation Street actress said: “It’s the fashion I really enjoy and the day’s a chance to dress up and have some fun.”
Flanagan, who plays Rosie Webster, gave birth to daughter Delilah last summer and also has a four-year-old daughter, Matilda, with Celtic footballer Scott Sinclair.
Wearing a chic trouser suit and hat by Julien Macdonald, Flanagan said: “Having the Royal Family here also makes it really special.”
The Queen arrived in her carriage procession as the rain began to fall but she and the Prince of Wales did not seem to mind the wet conditions in the open-top coach.
The Duchess of Cornwall, seated beside the Queen, put up a see-through umbrella.
Punters like to bet on the colour of the Queen’s hat and the monarch, who wore a duck egg blue outfit by Stewart Parvin and a matching Rachel Trevor-Morgan hat, picked the same hue as she did for her appearance at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
Rupert Adams, from William Hill, said his bookmakers had a good day in the Queen’s hat betting as she wore blue for the second day running.
He said: “The Queen is normally guaranteed to swap her colours around and it was not the case today.
“We have probably had our best day ever in over 30 years of betting on the colour of the Queen’s hat.”
The skies had cleared by the time the Queen’s horse Seniority was due to take part in the Royal Hunt Cup but the soft conditions at the course, after the heavy rainfall, meant it was withdrawn.
The Queen’s first Royal Ascot victory was in the Royal Hunt Cup with her horse Choir Boy in 1953, while her last was three years ago when Dartmouth triumphed in the Hardwicke Stakes – the monarch’s 23rd winner at the event.