In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a lot of things that the royal family can’t do. They can’t sign autographs, accept wedding gifts or take selfies with the general public. They can’t use social media (unless they’ve managed to commandeer the official royal accounts, like Prince William enthusiastically dad-tweeting England’s recent successes and failures in the World Cup). They can’t (as Kate Middleton has reportedly found out) wear wedge sandals without risking a disapprovingly raised eyebrow from Her Majesty. And, so the legend goes, they can’t wear bold colours on their nails.
As brightly coloured polish and fake nails are considered, according to certain well-placed sources, to be ‘vulgar,’ the royals are encouraged to favour more neutral, barely-there manicures. The Queen has famously worn Essie’s Ballet Slippers, a subtle pale pink, since 1989 (her hairdresser reportedly once wrote to the brand, describing the polish to be ‘the only colour Her Majesty would wear’). The Duchess of Cambridge tends to stick to a similar formula, too: she’s never been photographed ‘on duty’ wearing anything other than a neutral light pink, and even chose to wear Ballet Slippers on her wedding day in 2011.
Since joining the royal family, the new Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, has played things pretty safe when it’s come to nail colour, but yesterday’s visit to the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibit at the Southbank Centre saw her take a different approach (while staying within the bounds of royal protocol, of course). Instead of wearing a translucent, glossy pink, like the shade she wore for her wedding back in May, Meghan opted for a matte pastel pink on her nails, creating a more dramatic effect than the usual by-the-book royal manicure. The shade of Glossier, The Grand Budapest Hotel and countless curated Instagram aesthetics, it also perfectly complemented her similarly hued outfit: a blush-pink sleeveless trench dress by Canadian label Nonie, pumps by Dior and an understated clutch by Mulberry.
While swapping in a slightly darker shade of the Queen’s preferred polish colour hardly constitutes a royal rebellion, this marks yet another instance in which Meghan has decided to put a more modern, fashion-forward spin on the palace-sanctioned beauty rules.
See Meghan's full look in the gallery below...