Fashion

The Story Behind That Major Style Rule Meghan Markle Broke At Her Wedding

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With Meghan Markle's royal duties now behind her, it’s the perfect time to reflect on her style legacy as a working member of the monarchy. Since she announced her engagement to Prince Harry in November 2017, Markle's been determined to carve her own path, redefining what it means to be a royal fashion icon.

She regularly incorporated affordable brands into her wardrobe, wearing pieces from accessible retailers like Topshop and Everlane. She made sustainability in fashion a focal point of her wardrobe, looking for eco-friendly options for everything from flats to dresses. She wasn't afraid of being photographed in activewear, often repeating her beloved Lululemon leggings. And when she did dress up for the red carpet, she was intentional about wearing designers that were native to the location she was visiting, even choosing British brands for her last appearances as a Royal.

What's more, Markle didn't always follow the rules. As any royal fan knows, there are strict sartorial guidelines that the family is expected to honor. But the Duchess of Sussex chose a freer and more spirited approach to royal dressing that cemented her place in the fashion history books. She even broke royal protocol at her wedding, a decision that's now making headlines years after the fact.

As Markle starts her post-royal era, it’s time to celebrate all the ways she defied convention while serving as Duchess of Sussex. The off-shoulder day dresses, cross-body bags, suits, and bare legs: the list is long, and inspiration awaits.

Ahead, find all the times Markle broke royal protocol with her look.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Wedding: May 19, 2018

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Markle decided to forgo tights for her bridesmaids on her wedding day, as evidenced by photos showing them with bare legs. Protocol dictates that they should be wearing tights, even despite the hot weather. While it's rumored that this decision caused tension between Markle and sister-in-law Kate Middleton, the royal family denies it.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Wedding: May 19, 2018

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While Clare Waight Keller, who designed Markle’s wedding gown, is British, many complained that the Duchess should've worked with a design house based in Britain. Givenchy, where Keller serves as Creative Director, is headquartered in France.

Archie’s Christening: July 6, 2019

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For baby Archie’s christening, Markle wore a white dress from Dior. Traditionally, for events such as these, royals tend to choose looks from British designers. In contrast, Kate Middleton chose dresses from Alexander McQueen for all three of her children’s christenings.

The Fashion Awards: December 10, 2018

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Markle’s choice to wear deep black nail polish to match her one-shoulder gown while presenting at The Fashion Awards in December 2018 was a stark contrast to the light pink or neutral nails most often expected of the royal family.

Royal Tour of Australia: October 19, 2018

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Royals keep their shoes on at all times even when it's not convenient. Kate Middleton has surely been seen playing multiple sports in heels. But when in Australia in October 2018, Markle boldly chose to remove her shoes while walking on the beach instead of wearing sand-friendly sandals or flats.

WellChild Awards: September 4, 2018

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Attending the WellChild Awards in London in September 2018, Markle opted for a pantsuit in lieu of a skirt or dress typically preferred by royal protocols.

'Hamilton' Gala: August 29, 2018

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As Markle has chosen on multiple occasions since becoming a royal, she opted not to wear tights or pantyhose with her mini dress when attending a gala following a special performance of Hamilton in 2018, breaking a long-held royal rule.

Wimbledon: July 14, 2018

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Queen Elizabeth II generally prefers all women in the family to don skirts and dresses for official events, but Markle chose a pair of white wide-leg pants and a striped button-down shirt from Ralph Lauren when attending Wimbledon in 2018.

British Ambassador’s Summertime Party: July 10, 2018

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Queen Elizabeth II reportedly only likes her family to don black when in mourning. In 2018, however, Markle chose a sleeveless black dress for a summertime soirée.

Trooping the Colour: June 9, 2018

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While Queen Elizabeth II wore some iconic off-the-shoulder gowns for galas and parties in her youth, it's widely frowned upon for daytime events. Markle chose an off-the-shoulder two-piece set from Prada for 2018’s Trooping the Colour nonetheless.

Mersey Gateway Bridge Opening: June 14, 2018

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While her outfit might have fit royal protocol for this particular event, Markle did not style a hat with her look, choosing not to follow the precedent Queen Elizabeth II set.

Edinburgh: February 13, 2018

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Meghan stepped out in Edinburgh in February 2018 wearing a plaid coat and cross-body bag. While it wasn’t her first time donning that style of accessory, royals generally opt for clutches, to respectfully avoid shaking hand with everyone they encounter.

Endeavour Fund Awards: February 1, 2018

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Instead of choosing a gown or even a cocktail dress, Markle showed up to the Endeavour Fund Awards in February 2018 wearing a tailored suit from Alexander McQueen.

Engagement Announcement: November 27, 2017

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Markle caught flack when announcing her engagement, as she opted to forgo the nude tights that are often worn by royals with skirts and dresses.