Royal Ascot is one of the most prestigious events of the year. The five-day event, which attracts more 300,000 people, not only offers members of the public the chance to dress up in their finest and enjoy a fun day out – but they can do it all in the company of the royal family. The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Harry, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have all made appearances at this year's Royal Ascot, and royal-watching has become something of a main attraction among the attendees.
Ascot is a firm favourite with the royal family
Of course, the best way to enjoy a VIP experience at Ascot, and get a feel of the indulgent atmosphere enjoyed by the royals, is inside the Royal Enclosure. "Being a guest in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot is very special - it does make you feel like a VIP," reveals HELLO! Online's royal correspondent Emily Nash. "Aside from getting a fantastic view of the finish line, you have a prime spot overlooking the parade ring as the carriage procession arrives and the Queen and members of the Royal Family gather with their guests.
"You're surrounded by horseracing royalty and celebrities and you get a close-up look at actual royalty, putting you at the heart of the traditional pomp and pageantry of the event."
The Duchess of Cambridge made her debut at Ascot this week
Getting inside the enclosure is no mean feat, however. It was first established in 1807 exclusively for the family, guests and household of King George III, and to this day membership continues to be by invitation-only. First-time applicants must apply to the Royal Enclosure Office and gain membership from someone who has attended the enclosure for at least four years.
Non-members can be invited to the Royal Enclosure by members courtesy of a day guest badge, giving them the chance to enjoy the numerous exclusive fine dining restaurants and bars available to the VIP guests.
The Royal Enclosure is the most prestigious of Ascot's three enclosures
Of course, style plays a very important part in the proceedings, and there is a strict dress code that Royal Enclosure guests must adhere to. Men must be dressed in either a black or grey morning suit, which must include a waistcoat and tie, a black or grey top hat (customisation such as a coloured ribbon or band is not permitted), and plain black shoes.
There are a number of guidelines for the ladies; dresses and skirts must fall below the knee or longer, dresses and tops must have straps of one inch or greater, jackets and pashminas may be worn, but the clothing underneath must still comply with the dress code, trouser suits may be worn, but they must be full length and of matching material and colour, and hats must be worn – a headpiece which has a solid base of four inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative.