kate-middleton-ascot

Why Kate Middleton waited five years to make her Royal Ascot debut

The Duchess of Cambridge first attended the races in 2016

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At this time of the year, members of the Queen's family are usually out in full force to attend Royal Ascot with the monarch. 

But like Her Majesty, fans will be watching the action, which is taking place behind closed doors this year, on TV, given the current pandemic.

MORE: When royal ladies stun at Ascot with their chic hats and dresses - see the photo

Everyone from the Duchess of Cornwall to the Countess of Wessex has attended the races, with the Duchess of Sussex making her debut just one month after her royal wedding in 2018.

But then why did her sister-in-law Kate wait five years before attending the prestigious horseracing event?

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It's understood that the Queen has invited Prince William and Kate to Ascot every year since their wedding in 2011, but the Duchess politely declined until 2016, when she attended for a very special reason – to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday.

MORE: Zara Tindall has totally wowed us with her lockdown Ascot outfit

HELLO!'s royal correspondent Emily Nash explains that the couple were focused on raising their young children, while William was also working as an air ambulance helicopter pilot. The Prince quit his job in 2017, and again the couple attended Ascot that year.

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Kate made her Ascot debut in 2016

"William and Kate's focus was on his job and the children for a while, but they've stepped up their royal duties in the past couple of years," Emily explained. 

When Kate made her debut in 2016, she stunned in a white lace dress by Dolce & Gabbana and a matching fascinator. The following year, she opted for a similar look, wearing another elegant mid-length white lace dress.

Kate was joined by her mother Carole Middleton and her royal cousins, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and Mike and Zara Tindall, among other members of the Queen's family.

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The Duchess again attended in 2017

The Duchess of Cambridge again made headlines in 2019 when she stepped out in a periwinkle blue dress from designer, Elie Saab. Pairing her beautiful blue frock with a matching floral hat from Philip Treacy, the stylish royal looked absolutely gorgeous.

It's already been an exciting event for the Queen this year. On Wednesday, her horse Tactical was crowned a winner after scooping first place in the fittingly named race, the Windsor Castle Stakes. This is the Queen's 24th Royal Ascot winner – and her first since 2016!

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