Kate Middleton and Prince William Make Their Royal Ascot Debut — Amid a Heatwave!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their first appearance at one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite events

Kate Middleton and Prince William made their 2022 Royal Ascot debut on Friday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge led the royal family in the carriage processional at the iconic horse race. Dressed in a top hat and tailcoat, William and Kate — who wore a brown and white polka dot dress by Alessandra Rich paired with a hat featuring floral details on top by Sally-Ann Provan — rode in the first carriage that appeared at the top of the course and traveled along the famous track.

Kate also accessorized with the South-Sea pearl earrings that once belonged to Princess Diana. Diana wore the jewels on many occasions during the 1990s.

Kate Middleton and Prince William.SplashNews.com

Joining Prince William, 39, and Kate, 40, in their carriage was William Vestey, the current Lord Vestey and his wife, Violet. William Vestey inherited the title when his father Samuel Vestey, who was close to Queen Elizabeth, died amid the COVID pandemic in February 2021 — just nine weeks after his wife.

Kate Middleton.Chris Jackson/Getty Images

In the second carriage were Prince William's cousin Peter Phillips and his new girlfriend Lindsay Wallace, who had made her royal debut at another famous horserace, the Derby, during Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee weekend.

Lindsay Wallace and Peter Phillips.David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images

A big topic of conversation at the race track on Friday was the sweltering heat. With temperatures predicted to be close to 90 degrees, it was perhaps unsurprising that the 96-year-old monarch skipped Royal Ascot for the fourth day in a row. (There's still a chance she'll make an appearance on Saturday.)

Amid the soaring heat, men were allowed to remove their jackets and ties as the Ascot authorities relaxed the dress code (it's the first time men have been able to go tie-less!). All spectators were also permitted to bring water and soft drinks into the arena.

Kate Middleton and Prince William.Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

However, all racegoers were expected to arrive at the course dressed in the full attire of jackets and ties. In the Royal Enclosure, that also means a top hat and a vest or waistcoat and tailcoat. Women still had to wear hats and make sure their dresses were of modest length and complied with formal day wear.

William and Kate are gearing up for a busy summer. On June 21, William celebrates his milestone 40th birthday. The Cambridge family is also planning a big move this summer.

The couple is planning to relocate from their London home at Kensington Palace to a new residence some 30 miles west in Berkshire, the county that houses the Queen's primary residence, Windsor Castle.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte will leave their London prep school, Thomas's Battersea, at the end of the current term, PEOPLE confirms, and will enroll in a school in the Windsor area. It has been widely reported that the family will occupy Adelaide Cottage on the Windsor estate, but that is unconfirmed. The palace had no comment.

For the fourth day in a row, Queen Elizabeth was absent from Royal Ascot, which is one of her favorite events of the year. As with all of the monarch's public outings, palace sources aren't able to say if she will be able to attend until the hours beforehand due to her ongoing mobility issues.

The Queen, who has a well-known love of horses, has attended every single Royal Ascot for the last seven decades and often has her own horses competing. The only exception was in 2020 when the famous event was held behind closed doors for the first time in history amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the start of the race event on Tuesday, the Queen issued a statement in the event's program, welcoming the full-capacity crowds back to the course for the first time since 2019. She praised the planting of new trees close to the course, in tribute to her Jubilee marking 70 years on the throne.

Kate Middleton and Prince William.Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

She said, "I have been most grateful for the continued kindness shown to me by the racing community. In my Platinum Jubilee year, I was interested to learn that in support of The Queen's Green Canopy initiative, Ascot Racecourse and the Crown Estate have planted seventy oak trees in Windsor Great Park, each of which is linked to a local school."

Related Articles