While it’s often the showstopping hats that get the column inches when it comes to Royal Ascot, it’s important not to forget about how key a good hair moment is.
When there’s a headpiece involved, what you do with your locks can make or break a look. While chignons have always been a go-to choice for the royals at Ascot, the younger generation have been experimenting with more modern variations, as well as ringlets, plaits and twists. From Princess Beatrice’s fishtail plait to Princess Diana’s blowdry and more, see who has made it onto our list of iconic Ascot hairstyles.
For her first (and only!) appearance at Royal Ascot in 2017, the Duchess of Cambridge swept her thick, flowing mane into a neat low chignon. There’s not a hair out of place and that’s thanks to a very discreet hairnet which holds everything together.
Princess Diana looked divine as she attended the event in 1988 sporting her signature eighties updo. Her blonde locks were perfectly complemented by a black and white spotted dress by Victor Edelstein and an elegant Somerville hat.
Princess Beatrice was bang-on hair trend when she showed off a neat fishtail plait in 2017. To coordinate her hairstyle with her hat, she added a black grosgrain ribbon and tied it in a bow.
PHOTOS: Royals with plaits
The Duchess of Sussex
Duchess Meghan’s Ascot debut in 2018 involved this very modern take on a bun. The ‘do was deliberately created off-centre to reflect the asymmetry of the Duchess’ dramatic headpiece, and a few strands were left loose to keep it relaxed and casual.
SEE: The many buns of Duchess Meghan – and how to create them at home
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan
Perhaps Meghan had been taking hairstyle notes from Princess Haya of Jordan – she wore her tresses swept to the side in a similar style way back in 2009.
The Countess of Wessex
Sophie’s wide-brimmed hat hides a surprisingly complicated hairstyle. The Countess’ hair has been twisted and pinned into this beautifully stylish ‘do which complements her drop earrings perfectly.
VIDEO: Sophie’s best hat moments over the years
Princess Eugenie’s 2017 look is a great example of how the right hairstyle can make a good hat look even better. The princess’ hair has been used to balance out the dimensions of her dramatic fascinator-hat; she’s been given a side fringe and some of her locks have been left free to frame her face.
No prim and proper princess here. Beatrice styled her trademark ginger hair into bouncy, messy ringlets in 2010 for a hair ‘do that mirrored the deliberately-disordered decoration on her fascinator-hat.
The princesses’ mother isn’t averse to experimenting with different hairstyles at Ascot. In 1986, the Duchess of York pinned her hair into this voluminous do and secured it in place with her pillbox hat.
While not one to style her hair specifically for Ascot, the Queen’s tight perm sat well with her upturned hat in 1990.
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan
Ascot regular Princess Haya of Jordan wore her chocolate locks in a chic twist, which set off her floral headpiece in 2009.
If you’re wearing an elaborate headpiece, you need a hairstyle that will complement it without taking away the spotlight. In 2014, Zara Tindall’s neat twisted chignon worked a treat, acting as the ideal base for her dramatic hat.
Zara swapped out her chignon from 2014 for a more complicated style at this year’s races. Although it still followed the classic shape of a chignon bun, Zara twisted her blonde tresses away from her face, giving her look a modern feel.
Princess Michael of Kent
Princess Michael of Kent piled her wavy hair into a wide-brimmed hat in 2012, but left some loose to soften the look. The result was feminine and elegant.
The Duchess of Cornwall
The Duchess of Cornwall looked beautiful in blue at this year’s event, and finished off her outfit with a statement Philip Treacy hat. Her hair complimented the look perfectly, swished back into a subtle bouncy blow-dry, allowing the headpiece to take centre stage.
MORE: 24 beautiful Ascot-appropriate dresses for a day at the races
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