Thursday 18 July 2019

Meghan Markle is sending a powerful message with her rule-breaking style

..and that message is, 'Don't f*** with me'

Meghan Markle's new year wardrobe
Meghan Markle's new year wardrobe
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Cirque du Soleil Premiere Of "TOTEM" at Royal Albert Hall on January 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Grover - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Cirque du Soleil Premiere Of "TOTEM" at Royal Albert Hall on January 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Grover - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Cirque du Soleil Premiere Of "TOTEM" at Royal Albert Hall on January 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Grover - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends the Cirque du Soleil Premiere Of "TOTEM" at Royal Albert Hall on January 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Grover - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Cirque du Soleil Premiere Of "TOTEM" at Royal Albert Hall on January 16, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Grover - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's 'Totem' at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain, January 16, 2019. Paul Grover/Pool via REUTERS
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Totem in support of Sentebale at the Royal Albert Hall in London on January 16, 2019. (Photo by Paul Grover / POOL / AFP)
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, attend the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Totem in support of Sentebale at the Royal Albert Hall in London on January 16, 2019. (Photo by Paul Grover / POOL / AFP)
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, attend the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Totem in support of Sentebale at the Royal Albert Hall in London on January 16, 2019. (Photo by Paul Grover / POOL / AFP)
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's 'Totem' at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain, January 16, 2019. Paul Grover/Pool via REUTERS
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex meets a Jack Russell dog named "Minnie" during her visit to the animal welfare charity Mayhew in London on January 16, 2019
The Duchess of Sussex with Jack Russell called Minnie (Eddie Mulholland/Daily Telegraph/PA)
The Duchess of Sussex after a visit to Mayhew, an animal welfare charity she is now supporting as patron (Eddie Mulholland/Daily Telegraph/PA)
The Duchess of Sussex leaves after a visit to Mayhew, an animal welfare charity she is now supporting as patron, at its offices in north-west London
The Duchess of Sussex leaves after a visit to Mayhew, an animal welfare charity she is now supporting as patron, at its offices in north-west London
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leaves following a visit to animal welfare charity Mayhew in London, Britain, January 16, 2019. REUTERS/John Sibley
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Meghan Markle, the British royal family's reigning rule breaker, understands better than anyone the impact one Roland Mouret dress can have.

It's not just the head-to-toe midnight blue sequins that adds the wow factor, but entire package: the slicked back bun, a burgundy lip and - gasp! - dark toe nail polish. The fact that Queen Elizabeth prefers the high-ranking women to wear nude nail polish mightn't be a rule as strictly enforced as previously thought and if it is, it's proof that she's writing her own rules. Meghan, who is expecting her first child with Prince Harry, spent much of last year being criticised for every choice she made from her clothing, to her hair, to her shoes, to her speeches and beyond - and it's clear that she has no intention of stalling her convention-defying decisions anytime soon.

For her first appearance of the year, at Smart Works in London one of her four newly appointed patronages, she arrived in a black jersey dress, a pair of cow print Gianvito Rossi heels (from her previous pre-royal life) and dainty diamond bar earrings by Kimai. It was the equivalent of arriving in armour and a signal that she won't be changing for anyone.

In contrast, she was a beacon of colour in a purple Aritzia Babaton dress and red Sentaler wrap coat, an homage to both her late mother-in-law Princess Diana and grandmother-in-law Queen Elizabeth, who both prefer the regal combination. Just a day later, Kate Middleton wore a similarly shaded Oscar de la Renta skirt suit, as if further proof of her place at the upper echelons of the British royal family. After several months of unwavering criticism, it was a show of solidarity between the two allegedly feuding in-laws. It might seem like I'm reaching, but both coordinate their outfits well in advance and if Kate really didn't want the inevitable comparisons to be drawn, she could have changed into any one of the appropriate pieces in her extensive wardrobe.

Neither women will ever give interviews and they certainly won't address the speculation, but they can wear their hearts quite literally on their designer sleeves. 

On Wednesday, the expectant duchess showed that not only would she be doing things her own way (can you recall the last time you saw a pregnant royal in a mini-dress and heels in January?) but she is finally understanding how to work the relentless British tabloids. Often under fire for her expensive wardrobe, she chose a camel maternity dress for H&M, which retails for €27.99, and took a page out of Kate's book by recycling an Armani coat from earlier in the week.

It's these small gestures that continue to endear the more glamorous royals to the public and with their every move so tightly controlled, sometimes it takes the right outfit to do the talking for you. Which brings us to Wednesday night's look: a sequin Roland Mouret floor length gown, an expensive choice at nearly €5,000, but her willingness to defy style convention has curried renewed favour for the former actress and reminding people why it is they became so obsessed with her to begin with.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, attend the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Totem in support of Sentebale at the Royal Albert Hall in London on January 16, 2019. (Photo by Paul Grover / POOL / AFP)
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, attend the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Totem in support of Sentebale at the Royal Albert Hall in London on January 16, 2019. (Photo by Paul Grover / POOL / AFP)
The Duchess of Sussex after a visit to Mayhew, an animal welfare charity she is now supporting as patron (Eddie Mulholland/Daily Telegraph/PA)
The Duchess of Sussex after a visit to Mayhew, an animal welfare charity she is now supporting as patron (Eddie Mulholland/Daily Telegraph/PA)

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