A group of six deeply tanned women were spotted at the entrance of the royal race course, posing for photographs wearing skintight blue all-in-ones that looked for all the world like futuristic smurf suits.
If that wasn't enough to make the Queen blanch, the sextet were handing fliers and stickers to local strip club Tantric Blue to bemused racegoers as they entered the grounds.
Tantric Blue, which claims to be the largest club of its kind outside central London, is based in Heathrow, on the borders of Surrey, Berkshire and London, and boasts of its 'upscale adult entertainment'.
We have a love-hate relationship with Ascot,' said Tantric Blue manager Annmarie Harris. 'We love them, but they don't like us! They have a certain dress code and our dress code doesn't meet the criteria.
'But we really don't mean to offend anyone. We come every year for a bit of fun. We have great banter with the security when we are there. They understand it's great titillation for the crowds - it's all harmless.
'We didn't realise when we had our catsuits made that the dress code has been changed and ladies were no longer allowed to show their shoulders. They must have thought "Jesus Christ!" when they saw us coming up the road.'
The fashion officers – who preferred to be called ‘dress code assistants’ –prowled the entrances carrying baskets packed with colourful fascinators, pashminas and ties. Guests who fell short of the dress code for the grandstand were given appropriate attire for free.
Meanwhile, anyone heading for the royal enclosure who had failed to bring a hat was ushered discreetly to an office in which there was a huge array to choose from for a £50 deposit. However, as no identification was taken, one assistant admitted she was ‘not that hopeful’ of getting them all back.
Despite the kerfuffle outside the course, Ascot’s head of communications, Nick Smith, declared himself ‘delighted with the standard of dress’.
He said: ‘We always said that we would adopt the new rules sensitively, using common sense and discretion, especially in the first year, and that is what we are doing.
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