It seems there’s been no end of cultural casualties as a result of the pandemic.

The Met Gala, the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals and Royal Ascot have all fallen victim to the wrath of Covid-19. But while the latter is taking place behind closed doors this year, organisers of the annual equestrian event have launched a style competition in order to raise money for charity.

The #StyledWithThanks appeal asks that virtual racegoers don their finest Ascot-worthy attire, and wear a hat – whether a ladies’ hat or a men’s top hat, panama or trilby – before sharing a photo on social media using the hashtags #StyledWithThanks and #RoyalAscot.

Participants are encouraged to donate £5 to the campaign fundraising page as well as sharing their outfits on their social media channels.

Lisou’s sketch (Joy Thompson for Lisou)

The money raised will be split four ways between The National Emergencies Trust Relief Fund, NHS Charities Together, The Care Workers Charity and the Berkshire Community Foundation and Royal Ascot has kicked off proceedings by donating a total of £100,000.

If you’re struggling for sartorial inspiration, Ascot has partnered with several British designers who will be sketching illustrations of their dream Royal Ascot outfits, which will be released in the run-up to the event to spark your imagination.


“In this unique year, our thoughts are with those that have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and of course the NHS and key workers who are playing such a heroic role,” CEO of Ascot Racecourse, Guy Henderson, said. “We are marking this year’s Royal Meeting with our #StyledWithThanks initiative so that people can combine the enjoyment of participating in the event from their homes with their own thanks and contribution to the fundraising campaign.”

Prizes will be given for the most Elegant, Original, and Uplifting outfits, with a panel of fashion industry judges selecting the winners. The handful of stellar prizes includes tickets to next year’s Royal Ascot.

The competition runs from Tuesday June 16 – Saturday June 20.