The Duchess of Sussex‘s sartorial footprint has been tracked by thousands of media outlets across the globe ever since she made her relationship with Prince Harry public at the Invictus Games back in September 2017.
By all accounts, the 37-year-old has quickly adjusted to her new royal role and dressed diplomatically on several of her first engagements with Brit mega-brands Burberry, Roland Mouret and Stella McCartney hanging from her Kensington Palace wardrobe.
But today, Meghan surprised fans by opting against a British label on what was perhaps one of her greatest opportunities to prove her love for her new home.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a debut visit to Sussex this morning with a whistle-stop trip taking in Chichester, Bognor Regis and Brighton.
For the highly-publicised day out, the Duchess paired a cream-hued coat by Italian mega label Armani with a £461 leather skirt by US brand Hugo Boss.
She finished the ensemble with a silk shirt from Scandi powerhouse & Other Stories and a seriously chic £1695 handbag by Gabriela Hearst.
Her look angered some royal fans, as one took to Twitter to write: “Meghan Markle got married to an English prince to waste a ridiculous amount of money on non-British clothes!”
According to reports, the Duchess has only worn two British labels since becoming a member of the royal family and has instead opted to leave the palace clad in Canadian and US brands.
The swift departure is in stark contrast to the Duchess’ pre-wedding days, when she wore a grand total of 10 Brit brands while carrying out 16 duties as a non-royal.
So why has she shunned the British fashion industry in recent months?
The sell-out Marks & Spencer jumper
On January 9, the Duchess of Sussex made her second public appearance alongside fiancé Prince Harry on a trip to Brixton.
Within minutes, the royal-to-be graced the headlines courtesy of a bell-sleeved knit from Brit high street staple, Marks and Spencer. Unsurprisingly, it promptly sold out across the nation.
The Stella McCartney coat
For her debut trip to Wales back in January 2018, the Duchess-to-be flexed her diplomatic muscles once more in a pair of jeans by local label Hiut Denim.
For added approval from the public, Meghan threw on a Stella McCartney coat – a satin bow to clinch in her waist.
The tartan Burberry coat
Fast-forward to February and the former actress aptly dressed for the couple’s debut Edinburgh visit in a tartan coat by Burberry – a not-so-subtle diplomatic move.
But if that wasn’t enough to prove her love of her new home, the American actress finished the ensemble with a cross-body bag by Strathberry – another under-the-radar Scottish label. Talk about bagging a few sartorial brownie points in one fell swoop.
The now-famous Victoria Beckham jumper
Eagle-eyed royal fans were quick to spot the Duchess wearing a cream-hued knit by Victoria Beckham in her official engagement photograph with Prince Harry in the grounds of Frogmore House.
In a Duchess of Cambridge-inspired move, the royal-in-waiting recycled the jumper for a trip to Northern Ireland in March. Proving she’s a pro when it comes to flying the sartorial flag, she opted for an Emerald Isle-inspired green skirt by Greta Constantine.
The Stella McCartney cape dress
One month before tying the knot, Meghan continued to prove her love for Stella McCartney in a cape dress by the British designer for an evening at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Emilia Wickstead dress
On April 25, the Duchess-to-be joined Princes William and Harry at Westminster Abbey for the annual Anzac Service.
To commemorate the day, Meghan chose an all-black ensemble by British designer, Emilia Wickstead.
The Stella McCartney wedding dress
The newly-crowned Duchess of Sussex surprised fashion critics by opting to wear a Givenchy dress for her big day on May 19.
But in a mark of respect to the capital, she changed into a halterneck number by Stella McCartney before partying the night away at Frogmore House.
The Goat dress
The Duchess surprised even the most knowledgeable of royal fans with a seemingly overnight transition into the regal firm.
For the newlyweds’ debut engagement as a royal couple, the former actress stepped out in powder pink dress by London label Goat – a go-to label for the Duchess of Cambridge.
The controversial Emilia Wickstead dress
After Emilia Wickstead drew controversy with her surprising comments on Meghan’s wedding dress, the Duchess proved there’s no bad blood without having to say a word.
The Duchess made the headlines as she stepped out in a dress by the designer for a garden party at Glencairn House on 10 July – a sartorial power move if we’ve ever seen one.
Why has the Duchess of Sussex turned her back on British labels?
When we were first introduced to Meghan Markle as Prince Harry’s new love interest, the former actress’ Hollywood wardrobe weighed heavy with Canadian and American labels.
Though it comes as no surprise, as she hails from Los Angeles and moved to Toronto to film hit US series, ‘Suits’.
As her relationship with Harry garnered speed so did her love of Brit-based designers, as she began to flaunt the likes of Stella McCartney and under-the-radar brands reflective of her royal engagement locations.
“At the beginning, Meghan was obviously embracing British life. As she’s an American lady who’s now married to Prince Harry, she will have been expected to show support for the UK,” royal etiquette expert Grant Harrold tells Yahoo Style UK.
“It’s a very diplomatic thing and royals will often wear jewellery or dresses that reflect where they are going in some shape or form.”
So why has the Duchess begun to opt against British labels on her post-wedding engagements?
“It’s a personal choice and there are no rules saying that they can’t wear a certain label,” Harrold explains.
“Obviously us Brits love the royals wearing a British label, as it promotes Britain. But at the same time, they have their own tastes, likes and dislikes. Fashion is a very personal thing and on that basis, she’s already got particular designers in mind who – some of whom she’s even friends with such as Misha Nonoo.”
The Duchess may be a member of the royal family but that doesn’t mean she wants to forget her roots. For instance, she requested a small Californian flower be sewn into her wedding train as a reminder of her upbringing.
“She will always go back to her home through American designers that she’s used to,” Harrold explains. “Being from the States, there is obviously a strong American influence to her wardrobe and it isn’t anything new for the royal family. For instance, Princess Diana famously loved wearing Italian label Versace – the designer was also a close friend.”
Is it royal protocol to dress diplomatically?
From swapping cross-body bags for ladylike clutches and her newfound penchant for black, the Duchess of Sussex has certainly adopted her style since becoming a royal. But is protocol for Meghan to dress diplomatically?
“It’s a personal choice and there’s no official rules to say that royals can’t wear certain labels,” Harrold reveals. “Meghan’s a feminist, she has very strong views and is very proud. If there’s a designer that she wants to wear and as long as they aren’t controversial, she’ll wear it,” Harrold tells Yahoo Style UK. “She has the ability to bring a designer into the limelight.”
“Royal fashion is always evolving and the Duchess of Sussex is at the forefront of change.”
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