Charles plans to attend Royal Ascot to honour late Queen's memory

  • Charles, 75, plans to spend ‘at least’ one day at the racing festival
  • The cancer-stricken monarch will host a lunch for a ‘bubble’ of friends and family

It’s one of the highlights of the social calendar and the most prestigious horseracing festival in the country.

Now the King has told courtiers that he wants to honour the memory of his late mother by attending this summer’s Royal Ascot.

The five-day meeting, which is held in June, was such a favourite of the late Queen that she missed only one Ascot during her 70-year reign. In 2022, the year of her death, she watched ten of her horses compete on TV at Windsor Castle.

The King, who has been undergoing cancer treatment, is understood to be keen to be back in action – and aides are so pleased at his progress they are planning for him to attend the event.

Charles – diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer in February – had been expected to miss out because of his gruelling treatment. But he has made it clear to courtiers that he is determined to watch his horses, many of them bred by the late Queen.

charles plans to attend royal ascot to honour late queen's memory

The King has told courtiers that he wants to honour the memory of his late mother by attending this summer’s Royal Ascot. Pictured with Queen Camilla on day five of Ascot last year

charles plans to attend royal ascot to honour late queen's memory

The five-day meeting, which is held in June, was such a favourite of the late Queen that she missed only one Ascot during her 70-year reign. Pictured: The King and Queen Camilla last year on day five

charles plans to attend royal ascot to honour late queen's memory

The King, who has been undergoing cancer treatment, is understood to be keen to be back in action – and aides are so pleased at his progress they are planning for him to attend the event. Pictured: The King and Queen Camilla on day three of Ascot last year

A racing source said: ‘Racing is an important part of the legacy that he inherited from his mother, and one that he treasures. That’s why he will be so keen to go.’

Insiders predicted the King’s attendance would be a big boost for ticket sales, with the public clamouring to see him in the Royal box – and in an open-top carriage.

It is understood he may also attend Trooping the Colour, three days before Ascot begins.

Charles, 75, plans to spend ‘at least’ one day at the racing festival, and will host a lunch for a select ‘bubble’ of friends and family.

Those closest to Charles regard Royal Ascot – and Trooping the Colour – as the perfect events for him to reconnect with the public.

New protocol dictates that he should see members of the public in the open air, allowing him to stay safe from contracting airborne illnesses while vulnerable from treatment.

The open-top carriage rides conducted by Royals at Ascot are the perfect way to be seen, while the glass-fronted Royal box will help Charles resist temptation to shake hands with well-wishers, which he did out of habit when he left Windsor Castle following an Easter Sunday service.

charles plans to attend royal ascot to honour late queen's memory

King Charles seemed emotional as he won after their horse Desert Hero won its race during Ladies Day on day three of Royal Ascot last year

charles plans to attend royal ascot to honour late queen's memory

King Charles and Queen Camilla smiled as they arrived at Royal Ascot on June, 22, 2023

charles plans to attend royal ascot to honour late queen's memory

Charles strokes Desert Hero who won The King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot last year

charles plans to attend royal ascot to honour late queen's memory

Zara and Mike Tindall led the Royal Family arrivals at Ladies Day at Royal Ascot in 2023

charles plans to attend royal ascot to honour late queen's memory

A photographic exhibition curated by royal photographer Chris Jackson was at Royal Ascot in 2023 to mark the late Queen’s close association with the event and a lifelong interest in horses

charles plans to attend royal ascot to honour late queen's memory

King Charles III (wearing his Welsh Guards uniform) watches an RAF flypast from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping the Colour on June 17, 2023 in London

charles plans to attend royal ascot to honour late queen's memory

Queen Elizabeth II and Camilla view horses in the Parade Ring ahead at Royal Ascot in 2013

A source said: ‘Ascot is the perfect event for his current ‘bubble’-style distancing preferences – there will be lots of fresh air and plenty of chances to be seen by Royal fans who will be desperate to get a glimpse. I would bet that he attends on Tuesday, the day of the King Charles III stakes.’

Last year the five-furlong King Charles III Stakes was named in honour of the monarch’s first racing week since ascending to the throne.

He attended all five days and was rewarded when Desert Hero, an 18-1 shot bred by his mother, won the King George V Stakes. The King was visibly moved and Camilla was seen wiping away a tear. Zara Tindall, the King’s niece said it was a ‘bittersweet’ moment.

Last night Johnno Spence, CEO of horse racing firm, JSC Comms, said: ‘This is welcome news for racegoers as it means he is on the mend and the King and Queen are a crucial part of Royal Ascot and horse racing in general.’

‘Many people buy tickets to Royal Ascot just to watch the Royal carriage procession, and the prospect of seeing the King and Queen at close quarters is a huge selling point. I expect there will be a sharp rise in ticket sales now.

‘Charles has shown commitment to racing since becoming King and I am sure he will have some great horses running. The executives at Ascot will be absolutely thrilled to see him there, cheering them on.’

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