British actress Joanna Lumley reads a specially-commissioned poem for Royal Ascot, written by the racing poet Henry Birtles.
"I feel honoured that Ascot gave me the brief of 'The Great British Drama' and asked me to write a poem," said Birtles.
"It has a great many highlights which I believe makes it one of the greatest sporting events and this I endeavoured to illustrate."
Upon this striking Heath a joyful throng shall once again with eagerness descend
Whose deafening voice will rise and fall in tune with fate’s irregular decree
Upon these lawns a million dreams will clash and find their waking judgements end
As victory and defeat both fight it out for all the sporting universe to see
Upon this Turf, a stage is set to celebrate today and all that’s past
Where names of those long gone, yet still revered,
Once nailed their famous colours to the mast
Where Queens and Kings have also felt the thrills
Some might just think exclusive to their own
And everyone here gathered understands through this and more,
Our history shines so gloriously alone
Upon my soul this burst of every shade an alchemist could possibly conceive,
Enlivens spirits for the Racing feast that lies ahead
And weaves this Royal Ascot week a tapestry
Great British Drama brightly laced with reams of endless Golden thread.
by Henry Birtles