Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Royal Ascot 2017: Day two

She made it. After the concerns last week that the political upheaval at Westminster might force the Queen to miss a day's racing at Royal Ascot (you could tell how well loved ER is by the genuine outrage on Twitter at the possibility of her having to miss one of her favourite events of the year), the carriages rode into view with the Monarch safely ensconced at the head of the procession. It was a much lighter royal turnout than day one when someone seemed to have lifted the balcony of Buckingham Palace from Trooping the Colour and left it at the racecourse. But we got some vintage royal appearances and a contender for regal look of the year. Welcome to day two at Royal Ascot 2017.

You want to know what a trooper the Queen is, well this appearance at Ascot pretty much sums up her reign in an afternoon. She'd spent the previous night consulting doctors as the Duke of Edinburgh was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure for an infection linked to a pre-existing condition. She'd turned up at the Palace of Westminster for the dressed down State Opening of Parliament in a blue and yellow hat that got everyone thinking of the EU flag then she'd headed off to Ascot and packed in a change of clothes to boot. All on the hottest June day for over 40 years at the age of 91. Is it any surprise she chose sunshine yellow for day two? The Queen is all about keeping calm, carrying on and smiling while you do it. Yellow is the colour of hope and optimism.  On a day when her government floundered into the Commons and her husband was being treated in hospital, of course she was in yellow.

The Duchess of Cornwall chose palest blue for day two with an elegant dress that looked light and breezy on such a hot day but also added a bit of texture with the eye catching embellishments on the skirt. The Prince of Wales, who had looked rather uncomfortable perched on the consort's throne during the Queen's Speech as he stepped in for his unwell father and accompanied his mother to the House of Lords, seemed slightly more relaxed matching his tie to his wife's ensemble.

Say hello, good evening and welcome to an outfit that must surely already be certain of a place in the 2017 top ten best royal looks. The Countess of Wessex wowed and then some in a rose coloured dress and stunner of a hat on day two at Royal Ascot. Sophie took a skip on the procession but she's made her mark on it this year after almost toppling out of her carriage on day one and instead contented herself by getting everyone oohing and aahing with her outfit instead. Oh, yes, Edward came too.

Sophie gets two photos today because a) you could look at that hat all day and not get bored with it and b) there is a cutaway shoulder detail to enjoy as well. If Kate had worn this, the world would have gone nuts, All hail, the countess of style.
The Princess Royal chose a blue and white check jacket that couldn't be missed, even from the other side of the racecourse, and matched it with a navy pleated skirt and small hat. Anne's retro chic is actually turning out to be a highlight of this year's Royal Ascot. She wears it all so well and just knows what works at this big meeting. We also got the very sweet sight of her waving at her mum as Elizabeth II arrived at the racecourse  - there was something in that image to remind us all that beneath the glitz and glamour is a family and all of them are sharing worries right now about the health of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Who isn't happy to see the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester take their part in the Ascot carriage procession at least once every year? The couple were there on day two with the duchess, who has just celebrated her 71st birthday, doing understated chic in a burgundy mix dress and matching hat. Her husband chose a blue tie meaning they're either secret West Ham or Villa fans or there's no place for matchy matchy in their wing of Kensington Palace.
What did I say? There was no way that the Trooping repeat worn by Princess Michael of Kent on day one of Royal Ascot was ever going to be her main fashion statement at this style centre of the year. Day two saw Marie-Christine in the carriage procession and in a cream suit and hat that wins all round. We've got a safari style jacket, fitted skirt and a hat that could pick up radio reception from Norfolk and it all works. Remember, this is the woman who helped redefine royal style in the years before Diana even married into the House of Windsor. Marie-Christine is a regal style icon who can still pull the punches. This is modern and classic all at the same time and she looks fantastic. Bring on day three.

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