COVID-19 restrictions prevented spectators in 2020, but Royal Ascot has now welcomed reduced crowds


The royals are back at Royal Ascot!

The British horse racing event kicked off on Tuesday, welcoming back spectators after COVID-19 restrictions prevented any in-person watching last year. Among those in the reduced capacity crowd were three of Queen Elizabeth's children - Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Edward - joined by Charles' wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Edward's wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

The event's dress code requires hats for women and top hats for men, and the royal family didn't disappoint. Camilla and Princess Anne sported different shades of blue with matching head toppers, while Sophie opted for a blush maxi dress that tied at the waist.

Princess Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Charles, Prince of Wales; Sophie, Countess of Wessex
Princess Anne; Prince Charles; Sophie, Countess of Wessex
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images; Samir Hussein/WireImage; James Veysey/Shutterstock
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

This year's races also added a new accessory: face masks. Camilla, 73, and Prince Charles, 72, both arrived wearing coverings, with Camilla's expertly coordinated with her striped coat.

Prince Edward
Prince Edward
| Credit: Shutterstock
Sophie, Countess of Wessex
Sophie, Countess of Wessex
| Credit: James Veysey/Shutterstock

Rather than the traditional horse-drawn carriage procession (which isn't happening this year), Prince Charles and Camilla arrived on the grounds by car.

Princess Anne, Princess Royal
Princess Anne
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Princess Anne's daughter Zara, who earned a silver medal competing in equestrian events at the 2012 Olympics, and husband Mike Tindall also joined in the day one fun.

The couple - who welcomed their third child, son Lucas, earlier this year - got dressed up for last year's event, even though they only ventured to their backyard!

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Mike Tindall and Zara Tindall
Zara and Mike Tindall
| Credit: Shutterstock

Prince Charles and Camilla are set to present the trophy to the winners of day one's featured race, the St. James's Palace Stakes.

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Queen Elizabeth, 95, missed the first day of the event - but for good reason. The monarch hosted her first in-person audience since the start of the coronavirus pandemic at Windsor Castle, meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

However, it's very likely that the Queen will watch the Royal Ascot on TV, just as she did last year during the pandemic. Not only is she a well-known horse lover, but her horse King's Lynn is running in Tuesday's King's Stand Stakes! The monarch is likely to attend the event later in the week.