Queen all smiles as she attends Ascot for first time since 2019

19 June 2021, 16:50 | Updated: 19 June 2021, 18:33

Queen Elizabeth II and racing manager John Warren (centre) speak with jockey Oisin Murphy
Queen Elizabeth II and racing manager John Warren (centre) speak with jockey Oisin Murphy. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The Queen was all smiles as she attended Royal Ascot for the first time since 2019 on Saturday.

Usually a regular at the famous Berkshire meet, the Queen had been a no-show since the festival began on Tuesday.

The monarch also missed last year's race as it was held behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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However, her smile was wide for all to see as she waved at the cheering crowd while leaving the event on Saturday afternoon, appearing to have fully enjoyed her day at the races.

The monarch was not seen in the royal box during the day, opting to watch the races privately, but had the chance to inspect her four horses in the Parade Ring after they crossed the finish line.

Reach For The Moon, the first of those running in her colours of purple and gold, finished a close second during the Chesham Stakes race at 2.30pm.

The Queen attends Royal Ascot on Saturday
The Queen attends Royal Ascot on Saturday. Picture: PA

She inspected the colt after it crossed the finish line and beamed as she watched Tactical and Light Refrain, ahead of the second race.

The Queen had briefly spoken with the jockey of her gelding King's Lynn, which finished third in The Wokingham Stakes race at 5pm despite being the favourite.

The monarch was later seen smiling and chatting as she was driven out of the racecourse.

She arrived at the racecourse to applause and cheers in a beige car at 2pm wearing an Angela Kelly outfit, including a pleated mint coat and matching hat, with a pink and mint floral dress.

The Queen has not attended Royal Ascot since 2019
The Queen has not attended Royal Ascot since 2019. Picture: PA

Punters like to bet on the colour of the Queen's hat, and this year bookmakers had said the most popular predictions were blue and green due to the change in weather.

Nicola McGeady, of Ladbrokes, said: "Punters could finally enjoy a flutter on the colour of the Queen's hat after waiting patiently for her arrival all week.

"Green was the colour that attracted the majority of bets, so plenty of punters have got the day off to a great start."

The Queen's eldest grandson Peter Phillips was also seen arriving earlier in the day.

The carriage procession that usually precedes each day's racing did not take place.

Environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion appeared to unfurl a banner reading "Racing To Extinction", intended to be seen by the Queen, who was nowhere near the incident.