I spent yesterday afternoon at work switching between the USA v Algeria footie match streaming live on my computer and trying to hear the excitement from the England v Slovenia game as recounted by my officemate while he listened to it on radio on headphones. Then we both gave up and went to the firm’s cafeteria/canteen where hundreds of people were crammed in to watch England win. As I took the lifts upstairs I was convinced USA had probably tied – yet again. But oh how I was so happily wrong.
With all this soccer fever, Wimbledon is getting a bit miffed. Turns out while the entire nation of England went football mad, the tennis snobs were feeling like second-class citizens. Crying into their strawberries and cream.
Football. Tennis. Who needs it? Let’s talk HORSES. Or more accurately: HATS.
Last Thursday, Trish, Faye and I went to Royal Ascot for Ladies’ Day. Going to Royal Ascot was on my desperately-desire-to-do list ever since we moved. Along with all the other standards certain expats dream about: Wimbledon, an English wedding, Henley, cricket at Lord’s, seeing a Premier League match, punting on the Cam, tea with the Queen, wearing Burberry on a double-decker bus – you know.
Ascot Racecourse is a famous thoroughbred racecourse an hour from London. It is beautiful. Every June
The centrepiece of Ascot’s year, Royal Ascot is one of Europe’s most famous race meetings. Every year Royal Ascot is attended by HM Elizabeth II and various members of the British Royal Family, arriving each day in a horse-drawn carriage with the Royal procession taking place at the start of each race day. It is a major event in the British social calendar, and press coverage of the attendees and what they are wearing often exceeds coverage of the actual racing. There are 3 enclosures attended by guests on Royal Ascot week
The Royal Enclosure – is the most prestigious of the 3 enclosures with recent visits from the Queen and Royal Family members. Access to the royal enclosure is restricted with High security on the day. First time applicants must apply to the Royal Enclosure office and gain membership from someone who has attended the enclosure for at least 4 years. For existing badgeholders, an invitation is sent out by Her Majesty’s Representative to request badges. Those in the Royal Enclosure have the options of fine dining and hospitality and a selection of bars. The Dress is strictly enforced, for Ladies only a day dress with a hat or fascinator is acceptable with rules applying to the length of the dress and ladies must not show bare midriffs or shoulders. For gentlemen a black or grey morning dress with top hat.
Except, get this, it is easier to get in if you are NOT British. As Americans we simply had to write a letter to the U.S. Embassy and in to the Royal Enclosure we were. The British love exclusivity and apparently at Ascot, international diversity along with the upper crust. I was happy to abide by the dress code for entrée to this crazy world.
But really, it’s all about the hats
We saw The Queen. Twice!
Look at the cute jockeys. You know I like ’em short.
Not quite The Queen, but we also saw Ivana Trump.
British people really like their mayonnaise.
Next year, I think Jonah wants in