Aussies let loose and party hard as Charles and Camilla take in the Melbourne Cup
TO THIS ...
Prince Charles and Camilla have a solemn moment, top photo, as they stand for the national anthem at the Melbourne Cup in Australia. For many in the crowd of horse racing fans, though, this was day for drinking (below). (Getty Images)
The Aussies weren't about to let a few royals get in the way of a good party on Tuesday.
Prince Charles and Camilla did all the right royal things for their day at the Melbourne Cup -- the country's biggest day of horse racing, akin to Ascot in England or, in its own humble way, the Queen's Plate in Canada.
People were dressed up, fascinators locked into place, all the finest manners on exhibit as more than 100,000 flowed through the gates.
Then the party started.
As is their wont, the Aussies spent as much time hitting the bottle as they did the betting windows.
Charles and Camilla? Mere diversions to be dealt with... 'Nice of them to show up. Pass the champagne.'
By the end of the afternoon, the racecourse at Flemington was strewn with bottles and bloated drunks, some still dressed to the hilt but unable to stand.
As for Charles and Camilla, they seemed to have a good time while keeping dry, doing a walkabout and enjoying massive cheers (alcohol-induced?) from a crowd eager to draw near and at least offer him the heir apparent a drink.
The royals -- on Day 4 of their two-week tour of Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand -- were part of the winner's circle ceremonies and spent some time talking with the jockeys, spreading their good cheer while keeping republican forces at bay. Camilla held her own in the fashion department, too, wearing a broad-brimmed Philip Treacy hat to match her Bruce Oldfield outfit.
For the record, Irish-bred and Australian-owned Green Moon with Brett Prebble riding took the 152-year-old race that offered $6.2 million in prize money.
The party atmosphere even brought about some colonial combat. The Daily Mail in the UK screamed a headline (right photo): "And you thought Ascot was going to the dogs!" The Australian news website news.com.au mocked the Mail with their own headline: "The Melbourne Cup party stopped a nation, but the British just don't know how to have fun."
The way the Mail described the scene: "The hedonistic Melbourne crowds showed the UK that they can party just as hard as both winners and losers sank gallons of booze and caused havoc around the racecourse."
Prince Harry would have loved it.
PHOTO GALLERY: Charles and Camilla in Australia
Race goers cheer the winning horse Green Moon after it won the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse, upsetting a host of highly fancied foreign horses to bring Australia's most coveted racing prize back home. (Reuters)