Behind the scenes at Ascot

By Sophie Eastaugh, for CNN

Published 0911 GMT (1711 HKT) June 19, 2017
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The most prestigious event in the British racing calendar, Royal Ascot is so-called because Queen Elizabeth II attends the event each June. Getty photographer Alan Crowhurst captured the historic venue's magic in atmospheric photographs, processed using digital filters. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Though the precise origins of Royal Ascot are unclear, the event evolved from the first four-day meeting that took place in 1768. It was a member of the Royal Family -- Queen Anne -- who in 1711 first visited Ascot's open heath and declared it "ideal for horses to gallop at full stretch." Alan Crowhurst/Getty
Known colloquially as "Ladies Day", day three is often the busiest of the flat racing week at Ascot. It centers around The Gold Cup, a two mile four furlong race presented by the Queen. Alan Crowhurst/Getty
When it comes to dress codes, there are few racing events as strict as Royal Ascot. Nineteenth century fashionista Beau Brummell, a friend of King George IV, first instigated a dress code for men in the Royal Enclosure in the early 1900s. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Men in the Royal Enclosure -- only accessible via invite from a member who has attended for at least four years -- must sport a black or grey suit with a waistcoat and tie, black or grey top hat and black shoes. Alan Crowhurst/Getty
Top hatted racegoers enjoy the action at Royal Ascot in 2016. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
For the ladies, those privileged enough to be in the elite arena must wear dresses below the knee, straps measuring one inch width or greater and hats or headpieces of at least 10cm in diameter. Alan Crowhurst/Getty
Though racegoers are dressed to the nines, in Britain there are no guarantees it won't rain. Pictured, racegoers coupling sartorial elegance with England's obligatory umbrellas. Alan Crowhurst/Getty
Yet as with any good celebration, there is plenty of champagne. On average, 51,000 bottles are consumed over the five-day meeting, along with 160,000 glasses of Pimm's, 131,000 pints of beer and 42,000 bottles of wine.
Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Retired British 11-time chamption jockey Lester Piggott is a regular at Ascot. With 4,493 British winners to his name, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest flat racing jockeys of all time. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Another great, Italian two-time champion jockey Frankie Dettori, celebrates winning on Lady Aurelia at the Queen Mary Stakes. Alan Crowhurst/Getty
In 2016, the meeting's total prize money was increased by $1.3 million, bringing the total prize pot for the five days to $8.7 million (£6,580,000) -- the most valuable in British racing. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Gregory Benoist is pictured riding Qemah to win the Coronation Stakes, scooping the $302,000 (£226,840) prize for French trainer Jean-Claude Rouget for the second time. Alan Crowhurst/Getty
My Dream Boat is pictured winning the Prince of Wales's Stakes, scooping this trophy and a $1 million prize. The race was created in honor of Prince Albert in 1862. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
The Royal Meeting welcomes 300,000 visitors each year, some of whom arrive in considerable style -- with approximately 400 helicopters and 1,000 limos descending on the prestigious grounds. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images