The summer hat season is just around the corner with exciting possibilities in the latest in fashionable headwear. While last year's Royal Ascot event was seemingly the pinnacle of haberdashery, this summer promises to be an event more flamboyant season for hats. While the royals themselves may not be at all of these events, we can certainly hope that the Queen delights her constituents with one of her regal offerings. Let's take a look at some of the dates to know for hat season.
Grand National - April 9
Where: Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool
The Grand National is the first big event for hats (unless you count the Cheltenham Gold Cup, back in mid-March). This year's race promises to be an exciting one on the course, but look in the stands for the real action! Many Clouds is the favorite, albeit not a heavy one, with Silvinaico Conti and The Last Samurai also expected to be in the running. The 169th running of the race will be broadcast on Channel 4 with radio coverage on BBC Five Live.
Chelsea Flower Show - May 24-28
Where: Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London
Hosted by the Royal Horticultural Society and a favourite of the Queen, the Chelsea Flower Show is the unofficial start of the English summer. Expect large crowds - the event annually draws over 150,000 visitors - but this provides for even more people watching - and hat watching! Tickets must be purchased in advance, and patrons will be delighted by the most innovative spectacles in gardening.
Investec Ladies Day at the Derby Festival - June 3
Where: Epsom Downs Racecourse, Surrey
An annual event for over two centuries, "Ladies Day" is thought of as "Londoner's Day Out." While it is one of the world's most famous flat races, it is also a primo event to watch an even better competition - who is wearing the best hat? And this is no empty competition either, the winner of "Most Fashion-Forward Racegoer" can walk away with a big prize - even a car!
Lord's Test Cricket Match vs. Sri Lanka - June 9-13
Where: Lord's Cricket Ground, St. John's Wood, London
Alastair Cook and his cricketers will take on Sri Lanka in the final set of a three-match series in June at the Home of Cricket. England bested Sri Lanka by ten runs this week, but it is the Test match in June that always attracts the elite crowds - and the elite hats! Even if cricket is not your sport, take up the sport of hat-watching, as the lords and ladies will not disappoint with their beautiful bonnets. If you cannot make the June match, England will take on Pakistan later in the summer.
Royal Ascot - June 15-19
Where: Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire
This is the World Cup of hats! Gold Cup Day to honor the Queen takes place on June 17 and all the best hats will be in full bloom that day. Car Park 1 is where you'll want to observe the latest in fashion and every after noon at 2 p.m. you will see the Royal Procession. The Queen is a fixture at the event, and you can even place bets on the colour of her hat!