Ever since she became a global household name, Meghan Markle has been the subject of intense and constant scrutiny. Yet, for all of the pressures of living in the public eye, she has never been anything short of gracious, radiant, and self-contained.
It defies the odds that she’s here at all. After all, she is a biracial divorcée, a Hollywood actress who’s independently wealthy, an outspoken advocate for human rights, and also the wife of a prince, which presents her with the royal title Duchess of Sussex. She is a fairytale come to life, which may explain the world’s obsession with her every move. As an official royal, there are plenty of etiquette guides and sartorial rules to follow, but just as she’s carved her own path in life, she is carving her own style identity. While other royals wear bright colors to stand out from the crowd, she prefers neutrals and, while they wear gowns to gala affairs, she rocks pant suits. Her individuality, even in the face of the homogenizing machine that is royal dress codes, has only inspired us to love her more.
Below, you’ll discover which royal rules Markle loves to break, and why we hope she keeps breaking them.
When she wore a pantsuit to a black-tie event
Traditionally, a black-tie affair attended by the royals requires a gown or, at the very least, a polished dress. However, Meghan Markle decided to keep the polish but ditch the dress, opting for a surprising sleek pant suit by Alexander McQueen in an equally surprising shade of black.
Every time she wore black, in fact
That’s right, the color black is persona non grata for royal appearances, except in the case of funerals. Meghan Markle has defied this rule time and time again, choosing the chic shade for multiple appearances, and no one in the royal family has wagged a finger about it – likely due to the fact that she looks cheerful and sophisticated regardless of the color she’s wearing.
When she made the boatneck her signature neckline
Revealing the décolletage in any way is forbidden by royal rules, but Meghan Markle is so infatuated with the boat neck and off-shoulder neckline that it has actually become her style signature.
When she opted for a purse instead of a clutch
Clutches are preferred by royalty because they occupy the hands, meaning you don’t have to shake hands with someone if your hands are full. This is a sneaky strategy used by many royals. Princess Diana always used a clutch and even employed it to cover her chest while entering and exiting vehicles. Meghan Markle says pish-posh to all that and wears whatever bag suits her look the best.
When she went sleeveless
While it’s not a hard and fast royal rule, sleeveless attire and short skirts are frowned upon. Very recently, Markle donned a chic yellow sheath dress – sans sleeves – and managed to get away with it. So far, this is one of the bigger fashion no-nos that she has managed to pull off with grace and aplomb.
When she skipped the required pantyhose
There are plenty of style mandates that Meghan Markle could ignore before her engagement to Prince Harry, but the fact that she skipped the Queen’s strict pantyhose-at-all-times rule for her engagement photos is a bit of a shock. However, she looked so glamorous and so radiantly happy that it was an easy faux pas to forgive.
When she let her hair down
While this is more of a beauty rule than a style rule, royals are required to keep their hair neat and pinned back. However, Markle’s messy bun is so much a part of her signature look that she wears it like that almost every time she has an up-do – including at her wedding and a recent appearance at Wimbledon.