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Queen in Ascot’s 300th celebrations

Model Anneka Tanaka-Svenska drinking a glass of champagne while having her elaborate hat adjusted on the first day of the annual Royal Ascot horse racing event near Windsor, Berkshire, west of London, yesterday. The hat was created by milliner Louis Mariette to celebrate Royal Ascot’s 300th anniversary and was inspired by Queen Anne who officially opened Ascot in 1711. The five-day meeting is one of the highlights of the horse racing calendar. Photo: Carl de Souza/AFP

Model Anneka Tanaka-Svenska drinking a glass of champagne while having her elaborate hat adjusted on the first day of the annual Royal Ascot horse racing event near Windsor, Berkshire, west of London, yesterday. The hat was created by milliner Louis Mariette to celebrate Royal Ascot’s 300th anniversary and was inspired by Queen Anne who officially opened Ascot in 1711. The five-day meeting is one of the highlights of the horse racing calendar. Photo: Carl de Souza/AFP

The Queen headed to sunny Royal Ascot yesterday as punters celebrated 300 years of the famous racecourse, yesterday.

Racegoers applauded the monarch as she waved to the crowds, entering the parade ground in a traditional horse drawn royal carriage procession.

The colour of the Queen’s hat is always the subject of much speculation and plentiful bets during the five day meet in Berkshire, but the monarch opted for pale green.

Her Angela Kelly creation was made of sinamay with pink and green trimming and her matching fine wool coat and pink and green printed ivory silk satin dress was by Karl Ludwig. She was joined in the open top carriage in the bright sunshine by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York and leading Saudi owner Prince Khalid Abdullah.

Princess Beatrice, in the second carriage with the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Eugenie, was wearing a fawn coloured wide brimmed classic hat – far more traditional than her much-talked-about Philip Treacy royal wedding headgear.

Before the start of the races, the Queen unveiled a bronze sculpture of the four time Gold cup winner Yeats in the paddock as royals including the Princess Royal and Princess Michael of Kent looked on.

Celebrities including Gary Lineker and wife Danielle and Holly Valance were among the racing fans at the famous sporting and social event.

An array of outlandish hats especially created for the anniversary year were on display, including a towering structure crafted from fake hair and cabbage roses to a top hat decorated with birthday candles.

This year’s Royal Ascot is taking place as the venue marks its 300th year, having been founded by Queen Anne in 1711.

Anneka Tanaka-Svenska wore a two-foot headpiece made of blonde hair and pink and green roses designed by Louis Mariette and inspired by the Queen Anne period.

Ms Tanaka-Svenska, who struggled to keep the unusual creation upright, said: “It’s difficult to wear but I’m an ex-ballerina so perhaps a small amount of my dance poise has helped.

“Because it’s attached to my hair which is very fine, it pulls a little bit.”

Mariette, who said the piece was inspired by the outrageous headwear worn by the Duchess of Devonshire and Marie Antoinette, said: “Just look at her strain. I had better rescue her before it topples.”

Ms Tanaka-Svenska’s pink and white corset dress was made by historical costume designer Kate Brooks and is a replica of one worn by Queen Anne.

Milliner David Shilling wore a black top hat decorated with two cocktail glasses, red white and blue balloons, a wad of bank notes and candles which spelt out Happy Birthday.

“It’s the 300th year of Ascot and I thought we should wish it a happy birthday. It could have been worse. I could have worn my birthday suit and that would have really shocked people,” he said.

Royal watchers had been hoping for an appearance by the newlywed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but aides confirmed they would not be attending Ascot this week.

Belinda Strudwick, from Kilkenny, Ireland, wore a saucer hat – a style recently favoured by Kate – embellished with dusky pink roses.

“It’s by State of Grace. They made my dress and shoes too. They’re very good designers,” Ms Strudwick said.

Florence Claridge, from London, wore a large structure of two circles decorated in daisies which was made by David Shilling.

Each year, the crowds consume some 170,000 bottles of champagne, around 10,000 lobsters, 5,000 oysters and 18,000 punnets of strawberries.

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