May 17, 2024


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Meghan Markle’s Major Fashion Contradiction

Meghan Markle’s Major Fashion Contradiction

Meghan Markle’s 2023 wardrobe highlights a contradiction in her claim that she felt compelled to wear neutral colors after joining the monarchy to avoid overshadowing senior members of the royal family, a celebrity stylist has suggested on a new episode of Newsweek‘s The Royal Report podcast.

Meghan’s adopted color palette first became a public talking point after the debut of the duchess’ eponymous docuseries with Prince Harry in 2022, in which she said that during her time in Britain she “rarely wore color” because she “never wanted to upstage or ruffle any feathers.”

However, three years after leaving the monarchy, Meghan hasn’t stopped wearing the shades or branched out into more colorful looks, celebrity stylist and royal fashion expert, Miranda Holder, has told Royal Report listeners, particularly over the past 12 months.

Meghan Markle’s Major Fashion Contradiction
The Duchess of Sussex wearing a neutral-colored Proenza Schouler evening dress in Los Angeles, November 16, 2023. And (inset) Meghan wearing a layered neutral-tone outfit in Germany, September 15, 2023. The duchess’ 2023 color palette has been discussed in a new episode of Newsweek’s “The Royal Report” podcast.
Robin L Marshall/FilmMagic/Karwai Tang/WireImage

“I think that the first sort of thing to note about Meghan is that we have just had neutrals virtually all year, having been very vocal about reluctantly wearing neutrals, or sort of indicating that was the case in the Netflix documentary because she didn’t want to stand out too much,” she explained in conversation with Newsweek‘s chief royal correspondent, Jack Royston.

“She suggested that she wore neutral colors because she was fearful of overshadowing other members of the royal family,” Royston added. “So in other words, the implication was that she kept herself in a box.”

Holder noted that the public might have expected Meghan to “break free of those royal shackles and have loads of fun wearing every single color of the rainbow and expressing her true self.”

But, she added: “It’s very interesting, you know, that there has been very little color this year in fact I went through her outfits, or many of them anyway. And there’s literally less than a handful of these [color] moments for Meghan.”

Since her relationship with Prince Harry first became public in the fall of 2016, Meghan’s fashion has become an international talking point with the fashion press reporting on the styles and brands chosen for particular events.

In 2021, messages between the duchess and a palace aide, which were disclosed as part of a tabloid lawsuit, revealed that she took pride in the fact that she was personally in control of what she wore.

“You know how personally frustrating I find the ‘stylist’ narrative,” she said. “(As it’s the only thing I seem to still have any control over—my personal styling).”

Speaking in the Harry & Meghan docuseries, the duchess reflected on her fashion choices, appearing to suggest that she was led to supress her true style identity to conform to life within the monarchy.

“Most of the time that I was in the U.K., I rarely wore color,” she told viewers.

“There was thought in that. To my understanding, you can’t ever wear the same color as Her Majesty [Queen Elizabeth II] if there’s a group event. But then you also should never be wearing the same color as one of the other more senior members of the family. So I was like, ‘Well, what’s a color that they’ll probably never wear? Camel? Beige? White?’

“So, I wore a lot of muted tones, but it also was so I could just blend in. Like, I’m not trying to stand out here.”

Meghan Markle Neutral Tones 2023 Fashion
The Duchess of Sussex photographed at the Invictus Games in Germany (L&C) and at a movie screening in Los Angeles (R), 2023. Meghan has worn a number of neutral-toned outfits in 2023, and in the years since her split from the monarchy.
Samir Hussein/WireImage/Karwai Tang/WireImage/Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix

This color palette is one that, despite not appearing to be Meghan’s personal preference, suits her well, according to Holder.

“I think knowing your best colors is very useful in fashion…Meghan…suits the deep, dark jewel tones, but also she’s one of the few people that can get away with wearing black or pure white,” she told Royal Report listeners.

“So you could say that a lot of those neutrals are because, you know, black and white, we’ve seen a lot of that, a huge amount of it actually this year, it’s because it just looks great on her and she looks fabulous in those colors. But there are also many jewel tones such as you know, deep emerald green, sapphire blue, magenta, royal purple—all those colors would look fantastic on her. We’ve not really seen them.”

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek‘s royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

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