This Thursday sees the release of Tom Bower’s highly publicised book Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors, an investigative trawl through the Sussexes complicated relationship with the royal family. Judging by the revelations that have been teased so far, it would be fair to assume that Meghan Markle can’t be having a great week.
Not that you would know that by looking at her today. Arriving at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day and watch Prince Harry give the keynote speech, Markle looked like she was absolutely fine, thank you very much. Critics? Never heard of them.
Since she became globally famous Markle has become expert in the art of communicating messages through her clothes, as Princess Diana so expertly did. Sometimes the former blogger in her raises her head above the parapet (see: the Oprah interview) to make her point explicitly, but more often than not she uses fashion as a reliable tool of self-expression.
So, what were the messages in today’s look? First on the agenda, like her last trip to the UN, the key takeaway was that Markle means business. Her post-Frogmore look is all about stealth wealth professionalism, and today’s look – the pencil skirt (Givenchy, apparently), the pointed pumps, the very appropriate half-sleeved boat neck top – played into that impeccably. Even though there are no doubt aides on hand to haul her stuff around for her, the roomy Mulberry tote also nods at the fact that she is a busy woman with Things To Do. It was a choice, and there was a message: she is rising above the tittle tattle.
And what about the head-to-toe black? Sure, it’s chic, but this was also a subtle act of rebellion. Traditionally it is protocol for royals not to wear black in the day, preferably saving it for mourning and sombre occasions. Could it be one perfectly manicured middle finger to the rules, then? Perhaps.
It was another champion of the power of black – Coco Chanel – who advised to take one thing off before you leave the house. That mantra seems to have resonated with Markle. Today’s look was noticeable in its simplicity. Not loud colours, no lairy prints, no for-the-sake-of-it accessorising. It was stripped back to basics (albeit highly luxurious ones), with a sleek ponytail to complete the look. Pared back, precise, poised, this look captures Markle’s evolving style confidence and knowledge that the world will be looking her. Devoid of gimmicks, today’s most powerful message of all is this: she is a woman in control.