Royals, horses, show-stopping hats: Royal Ascot in pictures

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, second right, laughs as she stands in the paddock on the fourth day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Friday, June 17, 2022. Every June, Britain's royals, aristocrats and thousands of stylish guests don their finest headgear for Royal Ascot, a glamorous annual horse racing event that dates back to 1711, when Queen Anne founded Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, southern England.
A racegoer walks through the grounds on day one of the Royal Ascot horse racing meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Tuesday June 14, 2022. Every June, Britain's royals, aristocrats and thousands of stylish guests don their finest headgear for Royal Ascot, a glamorous annual horse racing event that dates back to 1711, when Queen Anne founded Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, southern England.
A racegoer poses for a photo, on the second day of of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Wednesday, June 15, 2022.
A racegoer smiles as she poses for a photo on the third day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Thursday, June 16, 2022. The third day is traditionally known as Ladies Day.
A racegoer poses for a photo, on the second day of of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Wednesday, June 15, 2022.
The coach with the Duke of Kent enters the parade ring on the fifth day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Saturday, June 18, 2022. Every June, Britain's royals, aristocrats and thousands of stylish guests don their finest headgear for Royal Ascot, a glamorous annual horse racing event that dates back to 1711, when Queen Anne founded Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, southern England.
Racegoers carrying portable fans to keep cool arrive for the fourth day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Friday, June 17, 2022. This year's Ascot coincided with a mini heatwave that bathed Britain and parts of Europe in blistering sunshine, with temperatures hitting almost 33 degrees Celsius on Friday, the hottest day of the year so far in the U.K.
Racegoers take off their shoes to rest their feet on the third day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Thursday, June 16, 2022. The third day is traditionally known as Ladies Day.
Britain's Prince Charles greets Sophie, Countess of Wessex, in the stands on day one of the Royal Ascot horse racing meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Tuesday June 14, 2022.
A racegoer smokes a cigar as he studies the form on the second day of of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Wednesday, June 15, 2022.
Racegoer Vivienne Jenner poses for a photo after arriving for day one of the Royal Ascot horse racing meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Tuesday June 14, 2022.
A security officer and dog patrol the grounds, on the second day of of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Wednesday, June 15, 2022.
Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall arrive by carriage for day one of the Royal Ascot horse racing meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Tuesday June 14, 2022.
Racegoers watch the parade ring as escalators take patrons to the Royal Enclosure on the third day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Thursday, June 16, 2022. The third day is traditionally known as Ladies Day.
Zara Tindall, second left, gestures as she watches the third race on the third day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Thursday, June 16, 2022. The third day is traditionally known as Ladies Day.
A Racegoer looks at the form guides as he selects his bets near a betting kiosk on the fifth day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Saturday, June 18, 2022.
Princess Beatrice, at rear right, reacts as a mounted groom and other try to settle one of the horses leading her carriage on the fifth day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Saturday, June 18, 2022.
Racegoer Edite Ligere arrives for day one of the Royal Ascot horse racing meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Tuesday June 14, 2022.
A racegoer poses for a photo, on the third day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Thursday, June 16, 2022. The third day is traditionally known as Ladies Day.
Racegoers wear ornate hats as they look down on the parade ring on the second day of of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Wednesday, June 15, 2022.
Racegoers pose for a photo, on the third day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Thursday, June 16, 2022. The third day is traditionally known as Ladies Day.
Racegoers take in the atmosphere on the third day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Thursday, June 16, 2022. The third day is traditionally known as Ladies Day.
People gather in the carpark for refreshments before the fourth day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Friday, June 17, 2022.
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, center, stands in the paddock on the fourth day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Friday, June 17, 2022.
Racegoers take in the atmosphere on the third day of the Royal Ascot horserace meeting, at Ascot Racecourse, in Ascot, England, Thursday, June 16, 2022. The third day is traditionally known as Ladies Day.
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LONDON (AP) — Extravagantly feathered, gravity-defying, or just plain wacky: There are hats, and then there are Royal Ascot hats.

Every June, Britain’s royals, aristocrats and thousands of stylish guests don their finest headgear for Royal Ascot, a glamorous annual horse racing event that dates back to 1711, when Queen Anne founded Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, southern England.

The weeklong bonanza is Britain’s most popular race meeting, with some 300,000 visitors attending over five days. It’s the place to see and be seen, and photographers are spoilt for choice each year with a parade of show-stopping hats and frocks for the women and formal top hats and tails for the men.

Queen Elizabeth II, an avid horse lover and owner and breeder of many horses, did not attend the event this year — reportedly the first time the 96-year-old monarch has missed Ascot in 70 years. Instead, Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate and other royals took their places in the traditional carriage procession.

This year’s Ascot coincided with a mini heatwave that bathed Britain and parts of Europe in blistering sunshine, with temperatures hitting almost 33 degrees Celsius on Friday, the hottest day of the year so far in the U.K. The horses got cooling fans and buckets of ice water poured over them, while the guests were told Ascot’s famously strict dress code was relaxed for heat safety.

Men were allowed to remove their jackets, ties and top hats — but only in the afternoon, once the traditional carriage procession by members of the royal family had ended.

The long days of sun, betting and flowing alcohol proved too much for some guests, who were pictured kicking off their stilettos and lying on the lawn, next to empty jugs of Pimms and Champagne bottles.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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