Traditions haven’t always been traditions, y’know. They have to be started. For example, bowler hats have been the official headwear of the Royal Ascot gatemen only since 1959.
And the “tradition” of celebratory singing around the bandstand at the end of the day’s racing only began in the 1970s.
One of Ascot’s greatest traditions, that of the picnic, assumed its current form in 1912 – given that we’ve been going racing at Ascot for 300 years, that’s really fairly recent.
The picnic itself has been a feature of Royal Ascot for almost all of the three centuries, but the location of the picnic moved 99 years ago to the car park with the arrival of the horse-less carriage – that’s the motor car to the like of you and me. Some of the berths in the car park have been handed down through generations of race-going families. And it’s still not uncommon to see butlers in attendance and silver service on display in car parks Number One and Two.