Racegoers at Flemington for the Melbourne Cup will have a brush with royalty, with Diana the Princess of Wales’ niece Lady Kitty Spencer returning as a special guest.
The daughter of Diana’s brother Earl Charles Spencer, Lady Kitty first attended the event in 2015 and returns on Tuesday as a special guest of the Victoria Racing Club and sponsor Lexus.
“When I first attended, I was blown away by the style, individuality and the effort that the racegoers go to at Flemington,” the 28-year-old said in a statement.
“I remember how impressive the Birdcage enclosure is in particular, so I’m very much looking forward to being back there.”
Also jetting in for the festivities is model Jesinta Franklin, who will be attending as a guest of dating app Bumble.
She and her husband, AFL player Lance “Buddy” Franklin, celebrated their three-year wedding anniversary on Monday and are expecting their first child.
Mining magnate Gina Rinehart appears on the guest list for both Lexus and Mumm after she was a late scratching on Derby Day. It will be the billionaire’s first visit to Flemington since she was photographed taking a tumble down the stairs of a marquee in 2016.
Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt may also make an appearance as part of role as Mumm’s “CEO” – or chief entertainment officer. He hasn’t missed the Melbourne Cup carnival since taking on the role in 2016.
While the VRC has secured a replacement for pop star Taylor Swift, who cancelled her planned appearance citing scheduling conflicts, it is yet to announce who it is.
The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses believes public backlash was to blame for Swift’s withdrawal, as well as others.
The anti-horse racing group will be hosting a Nup to the Cup event outside Flemington, with hundreds expected to attend.
Spokeswoman Kristin Leigh said they have been inundated with support following ABC’s 7.30 program last month, which broadcast footage of racehorses being mistreated before being slaughtered.
“We’ll be having human races and a fashion parade. It’s all about showing people you can have a fun time without engaging in animal cruelty,” she said.
Anthony Callea, who will perform the national anthem, has pledged to donate his performance fee to an equine welfare organisation.
Australian Associated Press