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Horse racing at Ascot (about an hour’s drive west of London) is a 300-year-old summer tradition, founded by Queen Anne in 1711. Its centerpiece is Royal Ascot Week, a see-and-be-seen highlight of the British social calendar — and an opportunity for milliners to go gloriously mad. Spotted at Ascot last week, among others: a massive blue butterfly perched on somebody’s head; a wild froth of white crochet resembling a lacy sea anemone; a head-sized English country garden; and a hat that seems to have given birth to other hats. It all looks like great fun — just look at most of these faces. Never mind if their hair got crushed, or if the hat needed its own seat in the car; these women are having a very happy hat day. (Except the wearer of that Mad-Hatter-in-multiples chapeau, who’s looking mysteriously dour. If I had that hat on, I know I’d never stop smiling.)

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or

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