Royal Court®

Click Here for Requirements & Application

Each year, it begins with more than 100 applicants. Then, 30 finalists are selected. Finally, five young women are selected as the Royal Court® Princesses. These young women represent the Kentucky Derby Festival and the city of Louisville as official ambassadors for the springtime tradition of the Festival. Over the two-week period, they attend nearly 70 events.

One of the Princesses will be crowned the Derby Festival Queen by a spin-of-the-wheel at the annual Fillies Derby Ball on April 14, 2018. Each woman will receive a $2,000 scholarship ($1,000 from the Fillies and $1,000 from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation).

Candidates for the Princess Program must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average and are selected by a panel of three out-of-state judges. Criteria for selection includes knowledge of the Derby Festival, poise, intelligence, personality and campus and community involvement. The Derby Festival’s Royal Court Program is coordinated by The Fillies, Inc., a volunteer group that works closely with the Festival.


Kailee Barnes of Louisville, KY – Kailee, 19-years-old, is a Sophomore at the University of Kentucky majoring in Human Health Sciences as a Pre-Med student. She is a Presidential Scholar, on the Dean’s List, and is the Sisterhood Chair of Kappa Delta –Epsilon Omega Chapter. Kailee serves on the Pre-Medical Activities Council and volunteers at UK Hospital in Lexington.



Natalie Brown of Crestwood, KY – Natalie, 21-years-old, is a Senior at the University of Louisville majoring in Communications. She is a Trustees Scholar, Honors Scholar, on the Student Orientation Staff and serves as a Cardinal Ambassador. Natalie hosts a Student News Show at UofL and also volunteers for Heuser Hearing Institute with the Delta Zeta Sorority.



Sidney Cobb of Frankfort, KY – Sidney, 20-years-old, is Sophomore at the University of Louisville. A Pre-Law student, she is majoring in Political Science and History. Sidney is a National Merit Scholar, a McConnell Scholar, on the Dean’s List, and is a Heather French Henry Quality of Life Winner. Sidney is Vice Chair of Engaging Issues for the Student Activities Board and also serves as a Citizenship Instructor at Kentucky Refugee Ministries.



Daphne Woolridge of Louisville, KY – Daphne, 18-years-old, is a Freshman at the University of Louisville majoring in Secondary Education English with a minor in Pan-African Studies. She is a Porter Scholar, Whitney M. Young Scholar, on the Dean’s List and received over $1 million dollars in awards and scholarships upon graduating from Louisville’s Male High School. Daphne is part of the Minority Teacher Recruitment Program, a C.O.N.E.C.T Mentor and volunteers at Indian Trail Elementary.



Taylor Marchelle Young of Louisville, KY – Taylor, 20-years-old, is a Junior at the University of Louisville majoring in Secondary Education. She is a Woodford R. Porter Scholar, on the Dean’s List, part of the Minority Teacher Recruitment Program, and serves as an Event Coordinator for the Society of Porter Scholars. Taylor also volunteers for Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana.


1957 – Jackie Love
1958 – Pat Travis
1959 – Martha Layne Hall (future Governor Collins)
1960 – Lillian Campbell
1961 – Dillard Marr
1962 – Jane Helm
1963 – Judy Roach
1964 – Trudie Musson
1965 – Jennifer Burcham
1966 – Lynne Girdler
1967 – Julie Short
1968 – Lynn Morris Haymond
1969 – Melinda Milliken
1970 – Starr Sprigg
1971 – Jennifer Lynn Storm
1972 – Gail Gorski
1973 – Julie Williams
1974 – Marion R. McCord
1975 – Annette Grundy
1976 – Kathy Carpenter
1977 – Robin Marie Clore
1978 – Elizabeth Page Penna
1979 – Ronda Marie Hartlage
1980 – Holly Wright
1981 – Gwen Francis Hettinger
1982 – Mia Todd
1983 – Lala Michele Thomas
1984 – Jessica Elizabeth Thomas
1985 – Peggy Barton
1986 – Kristen Zapata
1987  – Jennifer Lynn Stratton
1988 – Christina Lynn Levy
1989 – Margaret McGaw
1990 – Heather Marie Peet
1991 – Kristi Wright
1992 – Michelle Gaines
1993 – Preethi Anathakrishnan
1994 – Melissa Purvis
1995 – Tara Lutz
1996 – Charliese Brown
1997 – Leslie Ann Corbett
1998 – Natalie Ann Hallal
1999 – Michelle Elaine Ackerman
2000 – Kerri Richardson
2001 – Anne Marie Abell
2002 – Caryn Rae Willian
2003 – Rebecca DeSensi
2004 – Maria Maldonado
2005 – Brittany Diane Carpenter
2006 – Patti Jo Grice
2007 – Charlee Doom
2008 – Taléa Renee Drummer
2009 – Harini Chenna
2010 – Megan Imel
2011 – Trisha Maclin
2012 – Kaelyn Gault
2013 – Cameryn Jones
2014 – Julia Springate
2015 – Briana Lathon
2016 – Madison Orman

April 19 - April 29
April 26 - May 4
April 26 - May 4