King and Queen’s dream of second Ascot winner must wait until final day

The King and Queen will have to wait for Royal Ascot’s final day for a possible race win after their thoroughbred was well beaten.

Charles and Camilla’ horse Hard to Resist was a long shot in the Sandringham Stakes with odds of 40-1 and finished way adrift of the leading riders.

The couple may have lost out at the races but the King’s nephew Peter Phillips was spotted strolling in the parade ring hand-in-hand with his reported new girlfriend Harriet Sperling.

Charles and Camilla, holding binoculars, watching the racing from the royal box at Royal Ascot
Charles and Camilla watch the racing at Royal Ascot (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Mr Phillips, whose mother the Princess Royal was at Royal Ascot on Thursday, was later seen with his partner in the royal enclosure watching the racing from a balcony with a group of friends.

Anne’s son, who does not carry out royal duties and is not an HRH, has two daughters with ex-wife Autumn Kelly. They divorced in 2021.

He was pictured with Ms Sperling chatting to the King and Queen as they mingled with guests in the royal box.

Charles and Camilla have become firm supporters of Royal Ascot since the death of Queen Elizabeth II who rarely missed the Berkshire meet, one of the highlights of the racing calendar.

Princess Beatrice hangs on to her hat following a gust of wind
Princess Beatrice hangs on to her hat following a gust of wind (John Walton/PA)

Over the past few days they have watched some of the country’s leading jockeys, trainers and horses compete on the world famous course, established after Queen Anne declared in 1711 Ascot was ideal for “horses to gallop at full stretch”.

The couple took on the late Queen’s thoroughbreds and last year had their first Royal Ascot winner, when Desert Hero triumphed in the King George V Stakes.

Two royal horses have been entered for the final day of Royal Ascot with Desert Hero expected to start in the Hardwicke Stakes and Treasure in the Golden Gates Stakes.

Harriet Sperling and Peter Phillips at Ascot Racecourse
Harriet Sperling and Peter Phillips (Yui Mok/PA)

Among the royal party who enjoyed a day at the races were Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Lord Frederick Windsor and his wife, actress Sophie Winkleman, Dame Darcey Bussell and JCB manufacturer Lord Bamford and his wife.

The King presented the trophies in the Coronation Stakes and a host of celebrities also handed out prizes, including actress Dame Maureen Lipman and author Dame Jilly Cooper.