The Royal Ascot

Jerry Cooke in front of Royal Ascot Photography sign

Jerry Cooke in front of Royal Ascot Photography sign

The Royal Ascot is one of Europe’s most famous race meetings and dates back to 1711, when it was founded by Queen Anne. Every year Royal Ascot is attended by Queen Elizabeth II and members of the British Royal Family, arriving each day in a horse drawn carriage.

However, unrestricted photography was not permitted in 1968 when Jerry Cooke on assignment for Sports Illustrated challenged that with a groundbreaking photo essay, including many candids of race attendees. While surreptitiously photographing, Cooke was spied by a guard and asked if he were a gentleman or a photographer. “A gentleman, of course,” Cooke responded. The guard made him check his camera. Moments later, Cooke retrieved his equipment and continued his work resulting in the images you see here.

 Cooke talks about The Royal Ascot:

Read the Sports Illustrated article, “Royal is the Word for Ascot” June 17, 1968

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