Finally, Royal Ascot is ‘Open For Business’
to……The New Normal for 2020
Royal Ascot saw a dramatic new chapter in its long history as the coronavirus took a hold. From January onwards organisers of major sporting events held their breath as the situation worsened day-by-day, then month-by-month. It was unprecedented. As the virus continued to spread from Asia and across Europe one after another international events were cancelled.
Ascot Racecourse, closed in March, awaited a government decision for sporting events in June. Whilst the organisers of Royal Ascot, the most prestigious horsing event in the world, their sponsors, the TV companies, the caterers, fashion labels and of course the milliners nervously awaited the news. From mid May The British Hat Guild, in contact with Juliet Slot, Chief Commercial Officer at Ascot Racecourse, put forward ideas for a millinery event within a ‘visitor free’edition.
As the green light was given on the 1st of June, with only 15 days before the first race, the organisers took on the challenge. The horses would run working within the new strict guidelines. A week later, on Monday the 8th, “Royal Ascot At Home” was launched, a whole new programme of events accessible from your home or garden, encouraging visitors, friends, enthusiasts, both ladies and gentlemen, from around the world to take part, dress up and celebrate together via the internet.
Meanwhile the milliners had been busy, forty-four had been selected to design, within three days, make within seven and then photograph a hat in their own style under the theme ‘Rainbow’. The images would be part of the “Royal Ascot At Home” press release, and the hats auctioned throughout the week until the hammer went down on Saturday evening at 9pm. In addition, champion jockey Frankie Dettori, kindly gave the saddlecloth from his 70th Royal Ascot win for the auction. As the clock struck 9pm £51,195 had been raised for the four Royal Ascot/NHS supported charities, a tremendous achievement!
For the ladies and gentlemen who wanted to celebrate the day in style ‘Royal Ascot At Home’ invited everyone to dress up, wear their best and take a photo! Milliners from around the world made their hats, some using the ‘rainbow theme’, dressed to impress and sent in their picture…. And how lovely was that!
Marell Kull from Walthamstow dressed in orange; Susanne Bollman modiste and owner of the hat salon Hüte von Hand close to Düsseldorf, Germany; London milliner Naomi Uhlig (left) regularly makes hats for the Ascot ladies; and Mr & Mrs Harano, owners of Japan’s no 1 millinery school in Kyoto. All enjoying the day!!
Marell Kull in Walthamstow, London
Susanne Bollman in Düsseldorf, Germany
London milliner Naomi Uhlig in Putney, London celebrates with her daughter
Mr & Mrs Hirano in their garden in Kyoto, Japan