From the lotus flower embroidery, which a spokesperson confirmed was chosen as a symbol of revival, to wearing of the late Princess Diana’s bracelet, as husband Prince Harry spoke of ‘history repeating itself’, every element of Meghan’s outfit was carefully considered.
This is not, however, the first time that the Duchess has used her clothing to communicate with the public. Here are eight times Meghan has used fashion to amplify her message.
The initial necklace
It started with a necklace back in December 2016, a few weeks after Prince Harry had issued a statement confirming he was dating the American actress Meghan Markle.
It was also similar to something Lady Diana Spencer had done before she got engaged to Prince Charles in 1981, repeatedly wearing a ‘D’ necklace that the Prince had given to her.
The ‘Husband’ shirt
When Meghan made her first public appearance with Prince Harry at the Invictus Games in September 2017, she wore what on the surface seemed like an unremarkable outfit – blue jeans and a white shirt.
On closer inspection, however, it transpired that the shirt was designed by her friend Misha Nonoo (a designer who was once married to Harry’s Eton pal Alexander Gilkes). The shirt in question was called ‘The Husband’, which created a media frenzy, as it indicated that Prince Harry might be ready to propose.
The Givenchy wedding dress
Meghan’s Givenchy wedding gown featured several beautiful symbols and messages. Designed by Clare Waight Keller, the British then-creative director at Parisian house Givenchy, it was striking in its simplicity.
But the veil was where the important details could be found. Flora from all 53 countries of the Commonwealth were included in the embroideries, plus a California Poppy to symbolise the state flower from her place of birth.
The Royal tights
The newly-minted Duchess of Sussex made another sartorial statement for her first Royal engagement, just a couple of weeks after her May 2018 wedding. Attending a 70th birthday garden party for Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace, Meghan followed the Royal style rulebook to the letter, debuting a saucer hat by British milliner Phillip Treacy, a shin-length dress by one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite labels, Goat, and a pair of protocol beige tights.
It was a significant move away from her usual red carpet, Californian approach of keeping legs bare, and confirmed the message that she was a fully-fledged Royal now.
Meghan wore a bespoke white dress by young British designer Grace Wales Bonner. With an above-the-waist belt to highlight, rather than conceal, that her pregnancy bump was naturally still in existence, it was reported that the Duchess had wanted to avoid projecting an unrealistic image to new mothers.
The vivid farewell outfit
For her final official royal engagements as a working member of the Royal family in March 2020, Meghan wore a trio of unmissable, bright colour outfits. The finale look was an emerald-green Emilia Wickstead dress, with a trailing cape, for a Commonwealth service at Westminster Abbey. The colour matched the lining of Harry’s blazer indicating the degree of coordination between the couple as they embarked on their new life.
The California shorts
After leaving their formal positions within the Royal family, and relocating to California, Meghan’s wardrobe relaxed considerably. Carving out her new life in the States, she and Harry began to partake in charity work, typically wearing casual shirts and California blue jeans.
The elegant outfit formulas the Duchess had perfected as a working member of the Royal family were left behind, with denim shirts becoming a wardrobe staple for Zoom call appearances during the pandemic. A significant outfit came in August 2020, volunteering for Baby2Baby in Los Angeles. For her first off-Zoom appointment in several months, the Duchess wore khaki cotton shorts and trainers as she got stuck in handing out back-to-school supplies. It was an outfit that said everything about her freedom to dress as she chooses.
The Oprah interview outfit
And so to the Oprah outfit. The Giorgio Armani dress, it has been confirmed, was selected for its lotus flower embroidery. The lotus flower holds symbolic meanings of purity, rebirth and enlightenment. This, coupled with the wearing of the late Princess Diana’s diamond tennis bracelet as Prince Harry made reference to “history repeating itself”, make this particular outfit one of the Duchess’s most symbolic yet.
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