Ascot relaxes its strict dress code as early season heat wave hits


Men at Royal Ascot will be allowed to remove their ties today for the first time in the event’s history, after the dress code was relaxed ahead of this year’s hottest day.

he organisers last night announced that the dress code, as much a fixture of the prestigious meeting as its runners and riders, would be relaxed for only the second time in its history.

The move comes as weather forecasters predicted 31C for the fifth and final day of the royal meeting in Berkshire. In addition, spectators will be allowed to bring in water and soft drinks for the first time to allow everyone to remain “safe and comfortable”.

Male attendees are usually required to wear morning suits, including top hats, waistcoats and ties. Ladies are expected to wear hats or headpieces and dresses and skirts of “modest length”.

However, as temperatures soar organisers said men will be able to remove their jackets and ties as the day goes on, but will still need to be dressed appropriately to enter the racecourse and will need to remain in full formal attire until the royal procession has taken place at 2pm.

The UK’s Met Office has issued a heat-health warning for today and advised people to take precautions if outside for long periods of time.

As much of southern Europe swelters amid an early season heat wave, 12 French departments were put on a red weather alert until 4pm today with temperatures in the south-west forecast to surpass 40C.

The red level is rarely declared for high temperatures, and is a warning that the heat can pose a serious risk to human health and life. A further 25 departments are on orange alert.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne tweeted warning people in France to “be careful – drink plenty of water, rest in the shade and take care of loved ones. In case of illness, call the ambulance”. 

France’s highest ever temperature – 46C – was recorded on June 28, 2019, in the southern village of Verargues.

Firefighters are warning that the hot temperatures combined with the drought mean that much of the south of France is a “powder keg”, with wildfire expected.

Three wildfires have laid waste to 1,600 hectares of pines and bushes in eastern Spain with temperatures close to record highs, regional firefighters said yesterday.

Hundreds of firemen were on the ground battling the blazes with 120 trucks and 19 aircraft to fight the flames near the towns of Baldomar, Corbera d’Ebre and Castellar Ribera, Catalonia’s regional fire department said.

Most efforts were focused on Baldomar, where flames threatened 20,000 hectares of woods and farmland. Some isolated houses were evacuated, as was a child centre with 54 minors.

There have been no reports of deaths or injuries.

Large swathes of the country face high or extreme risk of wildfire, the state meteorological agency AEMET said.

As of June 5, the area burned in Spain was 34pc smaller than the same period in 2021 and the lowest since 2018.

However, since last week the combination of hot weather, wind and thunderstorms has sparked wildfires around the nation.

Scorching sun has hit Spain since late last week, in what is the earliest heat wave since 1981, with temperatures surpassing 40C in many parts of the country.

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