Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 7... And we are off... to see the Queen

Literally. Remember that hat from an earlier post? Well, I had a real need for one. We are attending Royal Ascot, Ladies Day... in the Royal Enclosure.  Sometimes the long shots come in! This story starts a few months back when I knew I was going to Genoa with Ned. Because of the nature of free tickets, one doesn't always get the best or most convenient routing. One of my transfers was through London so I suggested to Ned that to break up my trip, he take a couple of days of vacation and we spend the weekend in London. His schedule can change on a dime, and usually does.....In May he informed me that he had to see a customer in the UK.... if he could change the dates on my tickets did I want to go early? Such a silly question! Hubby suggested we see if there were any steeplechase races going on that week since he knows I am a horse lover. Turns out they were out of season BUT Royal Ascot was being held... I thought that would be fun. I always reach for the moon hoping I will get a star so I decided to see if we could get into the Royal Enclosure in Ascot where all the really high society hob nob with each other..... oh, and also wear those wonderful hats. The fine print on their website says that sometimes the Embassies have available tickets.... OK, so with nothing to lose I wrote to the American Embassy in London and asked. Much to my surprise I got an application back that we had to fill out plus a requirement for a letter of recommendation from some professional who knew us to be fine upstanding citizens for at least the past 5 years. ( Yes, you can interpret that as you wish). We passed muster. Now the fun began. I needed a hat and dress and Ned needed a morning suit plus top hat. He was less than thrilled but was willing to go along. I will spare you the details getting him attired properly. The dress code for women is pretty strict... no spaghetti straps, no halter dresses, nothing too short, no midriff showing, and no straps narrower than 1". Anyone notice the fashions for spring/summer this year? I was determined!! I also needed a way to get my hat there undamaged. Hat boxes are not easy to come by anymore, but I ordered one online.

The big day was finally here... and it was pouring rain. We were planning on taking the train to Ascot and walking the last 1/4 like many do as the parking is insane. In view of the weather, we decided to hire a car. Thankfully, it was flat rate. Good thing as it took us over 2 hours with the traffic to get there... of course by the time we did, the rain had stopped.... oh well. To say I was excited is probably the understatement of the year. We walked in with everyone else dressed to the nines and enjoyed the scenery. Some professional photographer liked my hat and snapped a photo.. but I don't think it was published anywhere... still, it was nice for my ego. What I forgot was a hatpin.. and with the weight of the flowers, the hat kept swiveling around.

People watching was almost more fun than the races... we didn't win, but we only bet on 2 races. One of the Queen's ladies in waiting places bets for her... and we watched as she both bought and cashed in her majesties winning tickets. It was hard taking pictures as everyone kept moving around. I really didn't care. People were pretty friendly.... and the champagne was flowing. We saw several of the Royals.. and I easily was able to snap a photo of the Queen although she did not look up. We did take the train back to Reading that evening. It really was a very fun day.

I have posted lots of pictures to the gallery.


Rayna said...

Have been catching up with your wonderful trip and you look great in the hat! I must say that I would recognize the Q anywhere, even without knowing you had taken her picture.

What fun!
P.S. - I love that picture of Robin with the baby.

Beth Brandkamp said...

What an incredible story!!

JYA Fiberarts said...

You and your husband look Smashing! What a great story. No one tops your blog tales!

Norma Schlager said...

You and hubby look "spot on" (isn't that a British saying?) What a fun adventure.! I am enjoying your travelogue. I've been to so many countries, but I have not been to England. I think I have to correct that.

Kay Koeper Sorensen said...

The Queen has MY hat on!
My friends said my Kentucky Derby hat looked like one the Queen would wear!