This year's Ascot is set to be extra special as the British royal family will welcome King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands to the annual event. It is believed that the European royals will sit with the Queen for the carriage procession. Although royal fans were also expecting to see King Felipe VI of Spain and Queen Letizia at the event, the royal couple have engagements in Madrid. Ascot comes one day after Garter Day, where King Willem-Alexander and King Felipe VI were honoured by the monarch in Windsor. Queen Maxima and Queen Letizia joined the Duchess of Cambridge, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Countess of Wessex at the St George's Chapel service commemorating the Order of the Garter.
The Dutch royals will attend Ascot
The royal party watched as Garter knights - both commoners and royals including their husbands - wore lavish velvet robes, glistening insignia and plumed hats for a procession through the grounds of Windsor Castle. The watching royal women all looked stylish in wide-brimmed hats, with Kate wearing a Catherine Walker coat and Lock & Co hat, Camilla dressed in an Anna Valentine coat and Philip Treacy hat, and Sophie wearing a Suzannah dress and Jane Taylor hat.
The foreign monarchs were invested with the insignia of the order by the Queen in the castle's garter throne room and during the service were installed, or formally seated, in the chapel's quire. Felipe was appointed to the Order of the Garter by the Queen during his July 2017 state visit while Willem-Alexander received the honour during his state visit in October last year. The crowds were treated to the spectacle of the senior royals travelling back to the castle in a carriage procession with the Queen joined in her coach by Charles and Camilla.
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