Every year, members of the royal family gather at the Royal Ascot, an annual horse racing festival considered a highlight of the British social season and Queen Elizabeth's favorite event of the year. Meghan Markle just made her debut at the event, arriving in a carriage fit for a princess alongside Prince Harry, Prince Edward, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
The new Duchess of Sussex looked chic for the late spring event, wearing a dress by Givenchy (the designer who created her wedding gown and the pale pink dress she wore last week) with a hat by Philip Treacy.
While Prince William and Duchess Kate weren't in attendance at today's Royal Ascot opening, both Will and Kate have gone to the horse racing event in previous years. In fact, the Duchess of Cambridge's first time at Royal Ascot was in 2016.
Meghan and Kate's Royal Ascot debuts have a few similarities. Both ladies arrived in the royal carriage procession with their husbands, and Meghan and Kate both wore white for their first Ascot appearances. Back in 2016, Duchess Kate wore a white lace Dolce & Gabbana dress with an off-white fascinator.
But why did Kate wait five years to attend, while Meghan made her Ascot debut just one month after marrying Prince Harry? It simply has to do with Will and Kate's transition to full-time working royals.
According to HELLO! royal correspondent Emily Nash, the Queen has invited Will and Kate to the Royal Ascot every year since they married in 2011, but the couple chose to skip the event until 2016. "William and Kate's focus was on his job and the children for a while, but they've stepped up their royal duties in the past couple of years," Nash explained to the magazine.
Will and Kate moved to London full-time last year, after William left his role with the East Anglia Air Ambulance. The family now lives in Kensington Palace, and Prince George and Princess Charlotte both attend school in London. Harry and Meghan, on the other hand, have been based in London since Meghan moved across the pond last year. The couple lives in Nottingham Cottage, on the grounds of Kensington Palace.
Meghan was in good company at her first Ascot today. The Queen, Princess Anne, Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Beatrice, and Princess Eugenie were all seen arriving at the horse race in various royal carriages. We've got every photo from the day here, and you can watch the royals arrive below.
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