It’s hard to believe that almost exactly one year ago, I was at Royal Ascot, having a heart to heart with actor Clive Owen and within selfie distance of the Queen.
Appletiser, an official sponsor of Royal Ascot, had invited Babes about Town plus a guest to the celebrated race day event. I felt a tingle of excitement when the invite popped through the letterbox — I’d never been to Royal Ascot and it was on my London Bucket List.
My friend Rachel and I sent each other a flurry of messages, wondering what to wear? I went for a gorgeous ruffle skirt dress by Adriana Papell. My hat, by Peter Bettley, turned more than a few heads (it could probably have taken some heads too, Oddjob style).
Rachel also got loads of attention in a bespoke Ghanaian dress and gold hat to match her ‘fro.
The train from Waterloo was buzzing with Royal Ascot passengers. Everyone was in a ‘champagne’ mood and that bubbly feeling carried us through the day. Rachel and I kept remarking on how friendly everyone was, whether they turned out to be winners or losers. Especially the winners.
You won’t find many better spots for people watching than Royal Ascot.
Racegoers get Decked. Out.
It’s especially cool to see the men looking clean in their tops and tails. It makes me realise how spoiled we are in Nigeria, where peeps get dolled up almost every weekend for the merry-go-round of births, funerals and marriages.
Royal Ascot was my first experience of live horse racing and the sound of hooves thundering along the racecourse to deafening crowds is quite a thrill. Soon, we were yelling like maniacs too. I’m not a betting girl but I do have a lucky streak and we put a fiver on a horse called Free Eagle. Imagine the screams and hugs when we won! Sure it wasn’t huge winnings, but enough to buy another round of drinks.
By 5pm we were poised in front of the lifts, where we’d been told Her Maj would make an entrance. My phone battery had drained to just 7%… and then the Queen walked through, looking amazing at 89 in royal blue. Perfect timing for a snap.
Afterwards, we stopped at the bar for one last drink. ‘Isn’t that Clive Owen?’ Rachel nudged me and sure enough, he was standing right beside me. There are few actors better suited to the terms ‘rakish’, ‘craggy’, and ‘phwooooarrr’!
We spent about half an hour chatting about anything from kid friendly places in London, to his own children pursuing creative arts, to my recent trip to New York. He told me he was rehearsing for a play on Broadway, his first stage appearance in 14 years. He was funny, down to earth and in great spirits. Meeting Clive Owen was the perfect finish to a spectacular day.
Thanks again to Appletiser and if you’re heading to Royal Ascot this week, don’t skimp on a fabulous hat. Who knows who you might run into?
Royal Ascot runs from June 14-18, 2016. Visit www.ascot.co.uk/royal-ascot