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Royal Ascot's strict dress code for Zara Tindall, Duchess Sophie & more

The royal ladies, including Princess Kate, are always impeccably dressed at the races

Princess Eugenie, Zara Tindall, Princess Kate, Duchess Sophie against pastel backdrop© Getty
Parenting Editor
Lifestyle Writer
Updated: June 19, 2024
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Royal Ascot 2024 is finally upon us and that means two things: gorgeous dresses and fancy hats. The racing event runs from 18 to 22 June this year at the prestigious Berkshire racecourse, with the British public dressing in their finery to sip on champagne and bet on the horses.

Ascot is known for its strict dress code – no outfits above the knee, strapless dresses are a big no-no and hats or fascinators are a must. No one does Ascot style better than the royal family, however, who are used to adhering to similar fashion on a daily basis. The Princess of Wales and Duchess of Edinburgh are known for their impeccable looks at Royal Ascot, and have certainly never put a foot wrong with their outfits.

WATCH: The royals at Ascot - all the best moments!

Opt for unusual fabrics

Princess Kate in lace white dress at Royal Ascot 2017 © Getty
Princess Kate rocked a bridal-esque dress to Royal Ascot 2017

Princess Kate is the epitome of elegance at Royal Ascot. In 2017 she wowed in a white lace dress with matching fascinator, pretty drop earrings and taupe clutch bag and heels. We adored the modern take on a Victorian look. Kate wore a similar lace dress the year before which fell just below the knee. The cream dress was by Dolce & Gabbana and cost £2,415.

Mix and match pastels

Zara Tindall always looks stunning at Ascot. Back in 2017 the royal chose a beautiful pale yellow dress with frill detail and teamed it with a light pink hat and grey bag. The hues worked perfectly together to give a fresh summer feel.

Zara Tindall in pale dress and pink fascinator© Getty
Zara Tindall rocked pastels in 2017

For the 2024 edition, Zara rocked a buttermilk gown - the 'Masai' dress from Laura Green London. It was styled with a gorgeous boater hat with sage green piping and nude pumps.

Zara Tindall and Mike Tindall attend day one of Royal Ascot 2024 at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2024 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)© Mark Cuthbert
Zara Tindall rocked yellow alongside Mike Tindall on Tuesday

Pick subtle prints

There's a fine line between overly busy outfits and way too plain, but here Duchess Sophie showed how to carry off patterned dresses at the races. 

sophie in bold floral dress with mustard bag and big hat© Getty
No one saw this floral look coming

Sophie rocked a bold floral dress in 2022 with a dipped hem and an even bolder fanned hat. The royal also donned a contrasting mustard bag and a pair of eye-catching mustard shoes with purple heels.

Choose a flattering cut

Princess Eugenie in red dress at Ascot© Getty
Princess Eugenie rocked red in 2017

You can't help but love Princess Eugenie's red dress. The shape flatters her figure and draws in her waist. The royal coordinated her headwear with a splash of red florals resting on top of the black hat and black heels.

Wow factor headwear

Princess Beatrice wearing a ditsy floral puff sleeve dress with a bright pink hat© Getty
Princess Beatrice opted for a ditsy print floral dress by Beulah London

Ascot really is all about the headwear and Princess Beatrice showcased a fine example with this hot pink headband in 2023. The royal cleverly kept things simple with a pale, patterned dress, accessorising with a pop of Barbie pink that stole the show.

Keep it classic

Queen Camilla in royal blue to day one of Royal Ascot 2024© Getty
Queen Camilla wore royal blue to day one of Royal Ascot 2024

Queen Camilla always chooses a classic design for her Ascot appearances, from bright shades to elegant pastels. Her Majesty likes the team coat dresses with hats of the same colour. Go regal and coordinate your outfit like Camilla in royal blue at this year's first Ascot installment.

DISCOVER: Princess Eugenie is a summer dream in hourglass sleeveless dress 

Opt for a modest length

Princess Anne accessorised with a cream clutch bag© Shutterstock
Princess Anne accessorised with a cream clutch bag

Dresses and skirts should be of modest length, which Royal Ascot defines as falling just above the knee or longer. Princess Anne got this spot on in 2023 in an elegant pastel number that didn't show off too much leg.


  • In the Royal Enclosure -  A dress or skirt falling just above the knee or longer,  shoulder straps that are a minimum width of 1 inch / 2.5cm,  a jacket or pashmina may be worn,  a trouser suit of matching material and colour, a  jumpsuit that falls below the knee and complies with the shoulder strap requirements, hats must be worn. However, a headpiece or hatinator with a minimum base diameter of 4 inches / 10cm is acceptable. 
  • In the Queen Anne Enclosure -  A dress or top and skirt, with shoulder or halter neck straps (lace and chiffon fabrics are permitted, no minimum length),  A trouser suit of matching material and colour,  a jumpsuit that falls below the knee and complies with the shoulder strap requirements, a hat, headpiece or fascinator.
  • In the Village Enclosure -  A dress or top and skirt, with shoulder or halter neck straps (lace and chiffon fabrics are permitted, no minimum length),  trouser suits are welcome and should be of matching material and colour, jumpsuits should fall below the knee and comply with the above strap requirements,  a hat, headpiece or fascinator.
  • In the Windsor Enclosure - Whilst there is no official dress code for the Windsor Enclosure, guests are encouraged to dress in smart daywear. A hat, headpiece or fascinator is encouraged along with a jacket and collared shirt. 


Princess Kate wearing black and white polka dots and a hat

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