Fascinators and curtsies aside, the British royals love their sports. So when June rolls around each year, the members of the monarchy cheer from the sidelines at the Royal Ascot, the fanciest day of the days-long horse racing event.
Not unlike the Kentucky Derby, the Royal Ascot is an opportunity to flaunt your wealth and look good doing it. On Tuesday, newly-minted Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle attended her very first one (in Givenchy, no less), with Prince Harry by her side. Save for a few carriages and the Queen's bumblebee yellow look, we didn't think there was much to see at the event—that is, until we realized that Markle did things very differently than Kate Middleton.
How’d their Royal Ascot debuts differ? It’s all about the timing. Markle attended the event—which includes lunch with Queen Elizabeth—just one month after her royal wedding.
Middleton, on the other hand, waited five years to pay a visit to the Royal Ascot. Was she not invited? Did she think it was lame? Maybe she’s afraid of horses? None of the above. According to Hello!’s royal correspondent Emily Nash, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were invited each year since their 2011 wedding, but declined because they wanted to focus on raising their children. Guess they don’t trust the nanny?
Apparently, Prince William was employed as an air ambulance helicopter pilot back then, which translates to one thing: no time for horsing around. Middleton finally attended in 2016, when Queen Elizabeth turned 90 years old, and again in 2017, after William quit his job. They were not present this year because Middleton is on maternity leave. Boy do they love those kids!
So what else was different? Their looks, though they each wore white. Markle opted for a white button-front Givenchy shirtdress with lace detailing about the waist and a matching black belt with pointed-toe shoes. She also upped the ante with a white and black geometric Philip Treacy fascinator.
A little less extra but nonetheless over-the-top, Middletonwore a white lace Dolce & Gababana long-sleeve dress (long sleeves in the summer, girl?) with an ivory Jane Taylor hat with a rose and an L.K. Bennett basket clutch back in 2016.
Markle and Prince Harry are reportedly working on having babies as soon as humanly possible, so enjoy her Royal Ascot moment while you can.