Royal Ascot Behind The Scenes

The Royal Ascot is in the diaries of all horse racing fans and with good reason. It is one of the oldest sports events that remain in continuation and rarely does a year go past without some huge talking points. Betting on the royal ascot is big business and for bookmakers and gamblers, this event represents five days of exciting action. For horse racing lovers in the UK, only Cheltenham and the Grand national can compare.

Until 1939 this racecourse was only holding one event and that was the Royal Ascot

since its inception in 1768. Now however it holds several races throughout the year accounting for 10% of all attendances in the UK although the Royal Ascot by far remains the showcase event. As the name suggests the event does have a royal tradition making what goes on behind the scenes a little more unique.

The Queen’s Departure from the Windsor Castle

Her Royal Majesty The Queen arrives at the entrance of the Ascot Straight Mile at 2 pm sharp, without fail. Drawn by Windsor Grey horses as per tradition, Her Highness’ Landau then leads the carriage procession up the mile, passing by the Silver Ring, the Ascot Grandstand and Queen Anne Enclosure before finishing with a round of the Parade Ring.

As simple as it may sound, transporting a Monarch from a castle to the center of the Ascot Racecourse – that too in an open carriage – requires a lot of planning and due care and attention. However, this task is competently handled by the Thames Valley Police. Up till now, they have not misled a visitor yet. 

The Route

The route is quite straightforward. It starts at Windsor Castle, where her royal highness and her esteemed guests depart in an autocad after a lavish luncheon. Up the Long Walk, the autocad then unites with the carriages waiting in the center of the Windsor Great Park. At this point, a conclusion is drawn regarding whether the carriage covers should stay down or not. 

Once Her Majesty and her guests have been seated in the Landaus, the Royal Procession begins, with the remaining guests and her Royal Majesty’s Ladies Waiting in cars ahead. Once the Procession exits the Ascot Gate Park, it carries on through the lanes until it finally arrives at the Ascot Racecourse at the Straight Mile entrance.

The Role Of The Thames Valley Police

As the sun rises in the morning, a police team walks the route from end to end, patrolling it thoroughly. They also make sure to lift every traffic cone and check the utility holes and drains along the way. While that happens, the traffic duty officers also assume their positions. They stop traffic and close all the roads in the vicinity of the route until the Procession has gone by. Officers are also stationed at all the possible points where the Procession moves slowly.

At the Racecourse, a police helicopter patrols the general area. The walkway in front of the Royal Box has been closed, and a team of police officers assume their positions around the Parade Ring. 

The Arrival

At this point, Her Royal Majesty and her guests exit the carriages. The Operations Officer directs the procedure from where he stands (at the edge of the Ring) while uniformed officers and ones undercover mingle with the racegoers. Strategically stationed, snipers watch the proceedings although it is very unlikely that they will ever be called into action. 

Once the Royal procession finally enters the long mile, mounted police officers accompany the Queen to the top of the straight, ensuring her safety.

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