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A day at the Races: Jewels of Royal Ascot

Rich history spans over 300 years

The rich history of the Royal Ascot races spans over 300 years dating back to 1711 when the then reigning monarch Queen Anne came across an opening close to Windsor which she believed was ideal for horses to gallop. This keen observation eventually lead to the very first race meeting which took place later that year on the 11th August. This first race was dubbed ‘Her Majesty’s Plate’ and had a purse of 100 guineas and comprised of three separate four-mile heats with seven horses competing. From this small mediocre race meet an annual royal tradition would be born.

Over a hundred years later parliament passed an Act which would preserve Royal Ascot as a public racecourse. From this moment, onwards the grounds and the stands were expanded and developed to be fit for Royal use. Today the much celebrated four-day event is arguably the most anticipated of the racing season. Each year members of the British Royal Family are in attendance with Queen Elizabeth II arriving in an open-air horse drawn carriage. The festivities have already begun with the opening taking place on Tuesday the 20th June and the finale scheduled for Saturday the 24th June.

As a major event on the British social calendar much of the attention is focussed on the attendee’s fashion choices and not the horses. There is a strict dress code which is enforced allowing ladies and gentlemen to prepare their ensemble for the day and enclosure they will attend. Many look to the Royal Family for style inspiration, with bold bright colours favoured by the Queen. Her ensembles are always accessorized with a brooch, necklace and earrings. Pearls work well with all colours and usually are a preference of the Queen on race day, with most of her outfits paired with a pearl necklace.

The Queen’s extensive brooch collection is also put to good use with an array of coloured gemstones and designs used to accentuate her wardrobe choice. As hats are worn by all ladies, studs and subtle drop earrings are preferred to finish a completed look. If you are heading to the races this week visit our team of antique specialists who will help you compliment your race day attire with period jewels fit for royalty.

Natural pearl and diamond earrings berganza hatton garden
Natural pearl and diamond earrings, circa 1880.
Ref: 26188
antique butterfly brooches hatton garden berganza
A pair of Victorian gem set butterfly brooches, English, circa 1890.
Ref: 25440
Antique diamond drop earrings hatton garden
Antique diamond drop earrings, circa 1900.
Ref: 27204
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Updated 13/07/2024 at 12:45PM

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