Back-to-back engagements for the Duchess of Sussex last week provided a chance for HRH to show off her new designer wardrobe. From a Ralph Lauren dress for Prince Louis’ christening to a dramatic black Dior creation for the RAF centenary celebrations at Westminster Abbey, and her go-to Givenchy on tour in Ireland, every outfit was a showstopper with an equally impressive price tag.
Now that Meghan is a member of the royal family, her working wardrobe is financed by the Prince of Wales. He covers all the costs of official engagements for his sons and daughters-in-law.
Prior to Meghan and Harry’s Ireland tour, it was reported that the cost of her wardrobe since becoming a royal was £760,000, some of which will have been paid for by Prince Charles, some herself.
Financially independent, Meghan earned £300,000 a year as an actress and was said to be worth £5 million before marrying Harry. Meghan’s previous relaxed Californian style has had a radical overhaul since she married. Her outfits are bolder, sharper, more cutting-edge. After dabbling with a pop of colour (the yellow Brandon Maxwell dress) and whimsical florals (an Oscar de la Renta wrap dress), Meghan has now gone back to the palette she loves, wearing dark green, black and neutrals for her overseas tour to Dublin.
While the 36-year-old doesn’t have a formal stylist, Grazia has learned that her friend, Jessica Mulroney, flew over from Toronto two weeks ago to mastermind Meghan’s looks for the tour – which cost an estimated £30,000 for the two-day visit.
The emerald green Givenchy outfit for her arrival in Dublin was a triumph. Not only is it Ireland’s national colour, it was a subtle way of paying homage to the Queen, who also wore green when she visited the country for the first time in 2011. But there has been speculation as to whether her dark outfits were appropriate for some occasions. Speaking to Grazia, Amanda Dishaw, co-editor of blog Meghan’s Mirror, says, ‘Meghan has long worn dark colours and outfits based on her love of the French aesthetic, in her life as “Meghan Markle”. While I did love the Dior, I too was surprised that she turned to such a dark and sombre look for the RAF centenary celebrations, especially when contrasted to Kate, who was in pale blue.
While Meghan favours some of the same designers as the Duchess of Cambridge, they have very different styles. Kate has been keen to appear frugal, opting for high-street brands and often recycling her bespoke designer dresses. According to one fashion source, she wanted to wear a Ralph & Russo gown for an engagement during a royal tour to India in 2016, but decided that the £30,000 price tag was excessive. Meghan has more freedom than her sister-in-law (she won’t be Queen) and, as a former actress, she already has an impressive wardrobe and connections in the fashion industry. Although she can no longer accept free clothes from designers, she is allowed to receive a discretionary discount. While Kate is never without her clutch, Meghan prefers a tote, such as the Strathberry bag or Fendi Peekaboo. I was told Meghan prefers larger bags so she can keep her briefing notes close to hand. On a visit to the Taoiseach’s Office she appeared to know the itinerary better than Harry.
‘She’s trying to merge Meghan Markle and HRH The Duchess of Sussex, but in a way that keeps the amazing parts of who she was and the platform and position she has stepped into,’ says Amanda.
From watching her first-hand, I have noticed that Meghan is confident enough to play with new styles and she doesn’t feel the need to always conform to royal expectations – apart from the tan tights, which the Queen now insists on. She showcased another black outfit for her final engagement last Tuesday – an Emilia Wickstead dress for an evening summer party. Royals traditionally only wear black when in mourning, but Meghan adores it.
So while she was reportedly overheard at the event saying she ‘missed’ acting, it is clear that she’s maintaining a level of designer glamour from her previous life.
Meeting With Ireland’s President
Roland Mouret dress, £1,500.
Birks Snowflake Snowstorm earrings, £9,089.
Paul Andrew heels, £474.
Fendi Peekaboo Essentially bag, £3,850.
Emilia Wickstead dress, £2,000.
Birks citrine diamond drop earrings, £2,632.
Aquazzura shoes, £490.
Givenchy clutch, £1,507.
Bespoke Dior dress.
Bespoke Stephen Jones hat.
Bespoke Cartier white gold and diamond earrings.
Arriving In Ireland
Bespoke Givenchy sweater and Givenchy skirt, £1,200.
Strathberry tote, £460.
Paul Andrew heels, £474.
Vanessa Tugendhaft earrings, £663.
Visiting Croke Park
Givenchy suit, £2,500.
Lavender Hill tee, £34.
Givenchy belt, £283.
Givenchy bag, £1,855.
Sarah Flint heels, £268.