After a carriage procession appearance on Wednesday, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, returned to Royal Ascot for another day of horse-racing on Thursday. This time she skipped the procession, but she did bring along a special guest, her 92-year-old father, Christopher Rhys-Jones. Rhys-Jones, a retired auto executive, donned a gray top hat and joined his daughter in the royal enclosure where they stood arm-in-arm and posed for photographers.

Along with Sophie’s husband, Prince Edward, they were present as King Charles III won his first race of the week. The king entered the horse Desert Hero, ridden by jockey Tom Marquand, in the George V Handicap, where he came in first, and was awarded a trophy by his cousin, the Duke of Kent.

After the race, his niece Zara Tindall spoke with reporters about the symbolism. “It’s bittersweet, isn’t it?” she said. “To think how proud and excited our grandmother would have been, the queen would have been. But to have a winner for Charles and Camilla, to keep that dream alive, was incredible. And what a race, aside [from] all of that.”

As on Tuesday and Wednesday, the king and Queen Camilla led the carriage procession, where they were joined by horse trainer Mark Prescott and the Earl of Snowdon, the son of Princess Margaret. Princess Anne and her husband Sir Tim Laurence rode in the second carriage along with Qatari royal Sheikh Hamid bin Abdullah Al Thani and the king’s former equerry, Lord Soames of Fletching. Princess Margaret’s daughter Lady Sarah Chatto and her husband Daniel Chatto rode in the third carriage along with Camilla’s companion Baroness Carlyn Chisholm of Owlpen and her husband, Colin Chisholm.

Sophie doesn’t often appear with her father at royal events, but in 2021, she spoke about her excitement when she was able to receive a coronavirus vaccine. During an event later that year, Sophie talked about grieving her mother, Mary, who died in 2005. “To this day, I miss her very much,” she said. “There are moments where I hear some music she loved or I do something I know she’d have wanted to hear about, which makes her early departure very hard.”

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