Queen pens Royal Ascot message, saying racing event will 'feel different for many'

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent
The Queen has written a message to race lovers at Royal Ascot. (Getty Images)

The Queen has written a message in the Royal Ascot programme, despite not being able to attend the event in person this year.

She is missing out on the horse racing event for the first time in her 68-year reign, and instead will have to stick to watching the races on TV at Windsor Castle.

Despite the change, she has sent her best wishes in a letter in the racecards, which this year have been put online.

She said: “In these challenging times, we are once again delighted to welcome the best horses and jockeys from across the world and pay tribute to those who have helped make this race meeting possible.

“This year Ascot will feel different for many, as it is so often a chance for friends, families and colleagues to gather together and enjoy a shared passion.

“I am sure however, that with the valiant efforts of the organisers, owners, trainers and stable staff, it will remain one of Britain’s finest sporting occasions and a highlight of the racing calendar.

“To everyone attending Royal Ascot, in person or virtually, I hope you have a most enjoyable and unique week of racing.”

The Queen arrives at Royal Ascot with Camilla in 2017. (Getty Images)

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The Queen is reported to be watching Royal Ascot from home, where as an owner, she will have access to a virtual parade ring, and can check in on her horses with real-time weather data and a live 360-degree parade ring camera feed.

She has not missed an event since she took to the throne, even making the postponed event in July 1955 when it had to be moved due to a national rail strike.

And in 2017 she dashed back from the House of Lords after the State Opening of Parliament.

The Queen has won about £7 million in the last 30 years from Royal Ascot.

The Queen and the Queen Mother at Royal Ascot in 1963. (Getty Images)

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This year, her main focus will be two races on Wednesday and one on Friday, where she has runners.

The Queen is not yet back to public engagements, but did watch a small military ceremony over the weekend, which replaced the usual Trooping the Colour.

And her son Prince Charles has returned to England from Scotland, and carried out his first engagement in person with his wife Camilla.

It’s not yet known when the Queen will be able to carry out in-person engagements, but she has released details of her first video call engagement, which she held with her daughter Princess Anne last week.