Yesterday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their first official appearance together as a married couple when they joined the celebrations for Prince Charles' 70th birthday at Buckingham Palace. As usual, all eyes were on Meghan to see what she would be wearing – and her style marked quite a significant departure from what we saw her in before she became an official member of the royal family.
In fact, the ensemble was right out of the Duchess of Cambridge's fashion rulebook and followed royal protocol down to a T – something we haven't really seen Meghan do before.
First off, the most striking difference to note from Meghan's ensemble was that she was wearing tights. This is a rule that the women in the royal family tend to follow, but one Meghan had never stuck to previously. Choosing to wear tights for the first time on a spring day in London (it was about 22 degrees) suggests that this is protocol she has been instructed to follow now that she has become a duchess. Even on very formal occasions previously, for example at the Stephen Lawrence memorial service, she has opted not to wear them.
Another clear shift in Meghan's style was that she had chosen to carry a clutch bag, a rule that her new sister-in-law follows on almost every public occasion. Meghan tended previously to opt for cross-body bags or trendy top-handled totes, particularly for daytime events.
While this seems like a minor difference, the thinking behind it is quite significant. Kate – and many other female royals – use this trick to avoid shaking hands with people with whom it might be awkward. This move could now suggest that Meghan's handbag collection is about to change dramatically.
Even the brand Meghan chose to wear, Goat, suggests a new look for her new royal life. Kate has worn Goat again and again, but it is a label that Meghan has never been publicly seen in before. Could she be following in Kate's footsteps in this way and choosing more demure, ladylike and less trend-led labels in the future? Perhaps.
The final key shift came from Meghan's hair. Famous for her messy bun (which she even wore on her wedding day), the new duchess went in a completely different direction with her 'do yesterday, choosing to wear a sleek and tidy bun under her Philip Treacy hat.
Could all of this mean that we have seen the last of Meghan's style as we once knew it? Will the new duchess ditch her laid back, protocol-breaking ensembles and stick much more closely to the royal fashion rules in the future? The answer is most likely yes, but, in time, she will probably make the royal look her own.
This was a fairly formal engagement and the first of its kind for her in the role as a duchess. So while Meghan might have looked to Kate on this occasion, she's sure to find her own balance between her former style and her new life in the months to come.
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