Cheltenham Festival: Odds on which royal family members are likely to attend this year – Gloucestershire Live

We take a look at who is likely to be in the royal box at the Cheltenham Festival
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What are the odds of a member of the royal family attending the Cheltenham Festival this year? The Bookies probably wouldn’t take a bet on that one.
There are certain royals who wouldn't let wild horses drag them away from the annual fixture in the racing calendar. But there are other members of the royal family who pop in from time to time and they might be worth a flutter.
We could even get a visit from the new King and Queen who live just down the road. GloucestershireLive looked into their diaries to see the chances of them being there.
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This is something that might be worth betting on, but in all likelihood, Camilla would probably attend alone. She was the Duchess of Cornwall when she pulled out of presenting a prize last year so she might want to reschedule as Queen.
According to Buckingham Palace, the King and Queen have nothing in the diary for race week so far. They are both due to visit Colchester on March 7 and Camilla is set to call into Newmarket racecourse on March 9, but that’s it for the whole of March.
Of course they do have the small matter of a Coronation to arrange. The last thing they will want to do is plan a load of tiring engagements or mingle with germ-ridden crowds in the run up to the big event on May 7.
It was a post Covid cough that caused Camilla to pull out last year and she is currently recovering after taking ten days off to get over another bout of the bug. She has attended the festival on Ladies Day several times and last year she was due to present a trophy to the winners of the Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase which is run on that day. She presented the same prize in 2019 so there's a good chance she will be in the owner's enclosure after the race which will be run at 3.30pm on Wednesday March 15, 2023.
As for the King, he may have a lot of things on his mind at the moment but he lives less than 30 miles down the road at Highgrove House, so it wouldn't take all day if he chose to join her this year.
According to Buckingham Palace “there are currently no future engagements in the system” for the Wales' in March, but you never know where they will turn up. Speculation that Kate dislikes the races because she is allergic to horses has been denied and she has already been to Cheltenham twice so she clearly isn't against the idea.
The first time she came was as a guest of Prince Charles in 2006, leading to reports she was about to get engaged to Prince William. The second time was in 2013 when she was pregnant with Prince George.
Last year the festival clashed with preparations around their 12-day tour of the Caribbean, but this year they are free for a royal charm offensive in the UK. Kate already has a few stylish coats by Cheltenham designer Jade Holland Cooper in her wardrobe so she wouldn’t need to buy anything new to present the Gold Cup on Friday March 17.
All bets are off because the Princess Royal has already thrown one of her many Cheltenham hats in the ring and announced she will be there to watch the Gold Cup on Friday March 17. However, don’t be surprised to see her there on other days too because she will not be straying far from her Gloucestershire home all week.
Her diary is free for the opening day of the festival on Tuesday and St Patrick’s Day celebrations on Thursday. On Wednesday, she would have to squeeze in a flying visit between opening a medical centre in Stroud and attending a dinner at the The Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester but nothing is beyond the Princess Royal. She does normally attend Ladies Day on the Wednesday but maybe she doesn't want to steal the limelight from Queen Camilla.
Anne’s ties are so close to the Cheltenham racecourse that she has a building named after her. The 72-year-old opened the Princess Royal Stand after a £45 million redevelopment of the racecourse in 2015. Although the royal box has the best views in the house, she and her husband Sir Tim Laurence are often seen mingling with the crowds that flock to Cheltenham to see racing royalty rather than blue blood.
It would be a major shock if the King’s niece and her husband did not turn up. Zara and her friends are a familiar sight at the racecourse where they set the fashion dial at warm, comfortable and classic long before the jockey club relaxed the dress codes. Mike always joins them and mingles with the corporate invitees so it would have to be something serious to keep them away.
As a director of the course since New Year's Day 2020, Zara and Mike are often seen at the course outside Gold Cup week and have even brought eldest daughter Mia along to watch during the school holidays.
Princess Anne’s son Peter is a regular at the family get-together's at Cheltenham and royal fans will be hoping he turns up with his long time partner Lindsay Wallace who made her public debut at the Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee. She was given the unusual honour of riding in the coach with Peter at Royal Ascot, something normally reserved for married royal spouses. And don’t be surprised to see his ex-wife Autumn and her new partner there too. Autumn enjoys Cheltenham so much she went with her husband after they split up and Irishman Donal Mulryan is from racing stock.
After being dropped from the royal rota, the fact that Prince Andrew will not be joining his Gloucestershire family is probably the biggest certainty. Unless, of course, he decides to go incognito.
Prince Edward and Sophie haven't got much on that week but they don’t tend to do Cheltenham. Warmer Royal Ascot seems to be more their thing and Sophie is usually pictured enjoying the June sunshine in floaty florals and big hats.
They too have been more frilly Ascot fans until now but Princess Beatrice could become more Cheltenham after moving into her £3.5million Cotswolds farmhouse with husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. Settling into Cotswolds life could mean pulling on a woolly coat and joining her Gloucestershire based family members in the royal box. Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank are unlikely to make the trip from their home in Portugal but you never know.
According to the royal diary, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester have a very busy week in the Midlands so it would be hard to see how they could fit it all in.
Considering they are living on the other side of the Atlantic, have two small children and have fallen out with the rest of the family, one wonders if they would even be allowed to sit in the royal box at Cheltenham if they did decide to come. But they are patrons of the Wellchild charity which is supported by the racecourse and an extended holiday at Harry's former family home in Gloucestershire might help clear the air before the Coronation in May.


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