2018 has been about Meghan.
The wedding, the Australian tour, the baby and yes of course, the vast selection of Givenchy she gets to choose from. We’ve been sucked into the Markle vacuum and it’s hard to escape given the constant coverage. But my royal style fascination extends back beyond the British Duchess. Marie Chantal of Greece, Queen Mary of Denmark, Queen Rania of Jordan; but one reigns supreme - Queen Letizia of Spain.
She rivals Kate Middleton with her love of the high street (she recently wore a €100 dress from ASOS to meet the President of China) and her effortless style that, I believe is innate, not the product of a large royal budget. She’s the quintessential queen; poised and elegant but she has an independent and boundary-breaking style, which fools us into thinking she’s younger than her 46 years.
Long before Meghan emerged in a Givenchy tuxedo, Letizia was re-defining what we expect from royal style. In May 2017, she attended Madrid’s National library in a black leather pencil skirt. The following month it was a one-shouldered crimson gown in the Netherlands. Next a Literary event in a bardot-style white top and boot cut trousers.
Her appeal is that she identifies no style rules that apply to her position as a monarch. Now I do need to mention her enviable figure - the woman can wear anything with a body like that. Take the Nina Ricci metallic stripe body con dress and slicked back hair in December 2016; form fitting and forward thinking. I don’t think we’ll see Meghan or Kate attending an official dinner in anything similar.
They play it safe because royal protocol says so. Letizia sets the style protocol in Spain leaving us running to Zara to find a replica, not to mention the coats from the Spanish retailer that she loves. Her overriding style moment for me was a red ensemble while greeting Queen Rania of Jordan in 2015 and to the discerning eye, it's possible they even coordinated their outfits.
If you were to compare Letizia’s style of those days as a newly wed, to the moment of coronation and beyond, she almost looks younger now. Perhaps having settled into royal life she, over time, has built up a confidence in her personal style. We assume as queen, she can make the rules rather than abide by them.
Either way, Letizia has become the queen of her own catwalk with designers queuing up to dress her.