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Top Hats At Royal Ascot

Every year, England's elite gussy up for the annual Royal Ascot races, attended by princes, princesses, dukes and the Queen herself.... not to mention judges from TV's "Britain's Got Talent." Top thoroughbred horses race for trophies during the four- day affair, but the spotlight is really on the outlandish creations atop the racegoers' heads. On display this year was a hat in the shape of a giant ice cream cone, and another festooned with a blackbird. One teen from Manchester, Jade Taylor, was weighed down in fanciful headgear made of 800 marshmallows. She told reporters, "I was eating some marshmallows and I just thought I might as well go for it; after all, they're a fat-free dessert."

  • Fashion designer Isabella Kirstensen wears her fancy creation with fresh strawberries on the first day of the 2009 Royal Ascot horse racing meeting near England's Windsor Castle.
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    Fashion designer Isabella Kirstensen wears her fancy creation with fresh strawberries on the first day of the 2009 Royal Ascot horse racing meeting near England's Windsor Castle.
    Alastair Grant/AP
  • Horse racing has been held at the famous Berkshire course since  Queen Anne founded it in 1711.  The Royal Ascot has become as famous for horse racing as its colorful hats.
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    Horse racing has been held at the famous Berkshire course since Queen Anne founded it in 1711. The Royal Ascot has become as famous for horse racing as its colorful hats.
    Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
  • A racegoer wears an ice-cream cone hat to attend Royal Ascot on "Ladies Day." The five-day Royal Ascot is one of the highlights of the U.K.'s horse racing calendar.
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    A racegoer wears an ice-cream cone hat to attend Royal Ascot on "Ladies Day." The five-day Royal Ascot is one of the highlights of the U.K.'s horse racing calendar.
    Tim Whitby/Getty Images
  • The Royal Ascot is a leading event in the English social calendar.  Birtian's royal family always attends.
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    The Royal Ascot is a leading event in the English social calendar. Birtian's royal family always attends.
    Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
  • Florence Claridge attends Royal Ascot on "Ladies Day."The official Ascot Racecourse rules encourage "smart clothes" and "fancy dress" but don't permit bare chests, midriffs or anything "liable to cause offense" to other racegoers.
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    Florence Claridge attends Royal Ascot on "Ladies Day."The official Ascot Racecourse rules encourage "smart clothes" and "fancy dress" but don't permit bare chests, midriffs or anything "liable to cause offense" to other racegoers.
    Tim Whitby/Getty Images
  • English actress Amanda Holden, a judge on Britain's Got Talent, arrives on the first day of Royal Ascot 2009.
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    English actress Amanda Holden, a judge on Britain's Got Talent, arrives on the first day of Royal Ascot 2009.
    Chris Jackson/Getty Images
  • Kateryna Osadcha attends Royal Ascot on "Ladies Day" accompanied by a blackbird.
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    Kateryna Osadcha attends Royal Ascot on "Ladies Day" accompanied by a blackbird.
    Tim Whitby/Getty Images
  • Tanaz Dizanii (left) and friend wearing veiled hats on the first day of Royal Ascot 2009.
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    Tanaz Dizanii (left) and friend wearing veiled hats on the first day of Royal Ascot 2009.
    Chris Jackson/Getty Images
  • Hilary Pritchard from York shows off her fashion choice during Day 1 at Ascot Racecourse.
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    Hilary Pritchard from York shows off her fashion choice during Day 1 at Ascot Racecourse.
    Steve Parsons/PA Wire
  • Racing pundit John McCririck is a fixture at the Ascot Racecourse. Officials advise tailcoats, trousers, waistcoasts, shirts and ties for men. And of course, top hats.
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    Racing pundit John McCririck is a fixture at the Ascot Racecourse. Officials advise tailcoats, trousers, waistcoasts, shirts and ties for men. And of course, top hats.
    Chris Jackson/Getty Images
  • Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins arrives on the first day of Royal Ascot 2009.
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    Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins arrives on the first day of Royal Ascot 2009.
    Chris Jackson/Getty Images
  • Jasmine Guiness attends Royal Ascot on "Ladies Day."
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    Jasmine Guiness attends Royal Ascot on "Ladies Day."
    Tim Whitby/Getty Images
  • Jade Taylor, 19, came from Manchestor weighed down in fanciful headgear made of 800 marshmallows.
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    Jade Taylor, 19, came from Manchestor weighed down in fanciful headgear made of 800 marshmallows.
    Tim Whitby/Getty Images
  • Owners of the Australian-trained horse Scenic Blast celebrate victory in The King's Stand Stakes Race at Ascot Racecourse.
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    Owners of the Australian-trained horse Scenic Blast celebrate victory in The King's Stand Stakes Race at Ascot Racecourse.
    Julian Herbert/Getty Images
  • Queen Elizabeth II arrived with her husband Prince Phillip in a horse drawn carriage. A racehorse breeder and owner, the queen presents trophies to winners of the annual races.
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    Queen Elizabeth II arrived with her husband Prince Phillip in a horse drawn carriage. A racehorse breeder and owner, the queen presents trophies to winners of the annual races.
    Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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The annual event started in 1711, and has become a must on England's social calendar. The dress code for the exclusive "Royal Enclosure" section of the racecourse bans halter dresses, bare midriffs and miniskirts. Men are expected to wear top hats and waistcoats, and women must wear hats or "substantial fascinators." Every day, bookies place odds on what color hat Queen Elizabeth will showing up wearing, as she watches her own horses and others compete.

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