When becoming a member of the royal family, there are certain fashion rules that must always be followed. Some of these rules are often unspoken, but they are still protocol and generally obeyed by anyone who becomes a member of the family. In the past, we’ve seen Kate Middleton transition from her college wardrobe of shorter skirts, sweatpants, and Ugg boots to tea dresses, high collars, and blazers. Between these looks and her constantly perfectly-styled hair, Kate has definitely cemented her position as one of the most well-groomed women on the planet.
Meghan Markle, just like Kate, will be required to make the same fashion adjustments now that she is engaged to Prince Harry. In the past, Meghan has opted for some very stylish looks, yet these are not always looks that Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royal family would approve of. It will be interesting to see how much Meghan’s wardrobe will change moving forward now that she is engaged to Harry or how many of her staple looks she will stick with despite royal protocol. Perhaps a modern touch would be refreshing but we’re not sure how Queen Elizabeth would feel about some of the not-so-traditional looks, like the ones found on this list.
15 All Black
Queen Elizabeth is renowned for her vibrant, colorful wardrobe, regularly snapped in bright shades of pinks, oranges, and blues. Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton has followed in the Queen’s footsteps, and she too is regularly seen rocking a pastel hue or bright pop of color. Meghan Markle has always been drawn to more sleek, stylish shades and often leans towards neutrals or black. Since announcing her royal engagement to Prince Harry, Meghan has shown no signs of slowing down on the darker shades and has chosen to stay true to the wardrobe she is known for. Recently, the former actress was snapped in an all-black ensemble, and although we can’t help but notice how sleek and stylish she looks, we’re not entirely sure that the Queen would be a big fan of the all-dark look.
14 Statement Jewelry
Statement costume jewelry is a big favorite among celebrities in show business. Nevertheless, it is very uncommon to ever witness a member of the royal family wearing any over-the-top piece of jewelry. Just think of the minimalist pieces that Kate Middleton is known to wear—the duchess opts for dainty diamonds and pearls as opposed to a flashy pair of earrings or necklace. Based on her previous public appearances or walks down the red carpet, Meghan tends to lean towards an edgier wardrobe, with statement jewelry being a big part of this. It will be interesting to see if Meghan continues to opt for these types of accessories after her trip down the aisle and how the Queen would feel about it if she did.
13 Dramatic Smokey Eye
Meghan is known for her dark eyeliner and sultry smokey-eyed makeup looks. This is a look that really works for the star, and she has opted for this look on numerous occasions. However, just like their clothing choices, royals have to be careful in what makeup they choose to wear. Meghan’s go-to makeup look was light, glowy skin, a natural lip color, and a contrasting dark lid look. Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton are huge fans of the minimalist natural makeup look and are never seen with a smokey eye. Nevertheless, Kate Middleton does usually choose to go for an eye look that includes lots of under eye liner. This was something that has been pointed out endlessly in the past, especially on her wedding day to Prince William when the duchess chose to do her own makeup.
12 Wearing Canadian Brands
It has always been royal protocol for members of family to support local fashion brands based in the UK. In the past, both Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton have helped British labels rise to the top by stepping out in items released by the labels. This has helped many smaller UK brands get launched into the international spotlight. Generally, as soon as Kate Middleton wears something, it sells out almost instantly, as women all over the world want to recreate the duchess’ looks. Meghan, however, has proven that most of her wardrobe is Canadian-based and has no shame wearing pieces from the country in which she worked for many years.
11 Leather Jacket
In September of 2017, the actress was spotted on the opening day of the Invictus Games in a Mackage purple leather jacket. It is rare to ever spot a royal wearing leather, yet Meghan was happy to rock this look. Pairing the jacket with a pleated Atritzia midi dress, there was no denying that the star looked effortlessly stylish. Of course, it’s important to note that at the time this image was snapped, Meghan was only dating Prince Harry and not yet engaged (we're assuming she also didn't know that she'd be a part of the royal family one day). So, it will be interesting to see if Meghan still opts for a chic leather look in the future.
10 Short Shorts
Prior to her royal wedding, Kate Middleton has been snapped on a few occasions wearing rather short shorts, most notably her neon yellow ones from her college days. Nevertheless, since her engagement and wedding to Prince William, Kate has always gone for a more conservative look, never revealing anything above the knee. Similar to Kate, Meghan has also been spotted wearing short shorts. Unfortunately, it is not royal protocol to wear clothing that reveals so much leg, so it remains to be seen if the star will continue to wear shorts in the future or if she will follow in Kate’s footsteps and say goodbye to such outfits.
9 Messy Buns
The royal family is known for their stylish and sleek hairdos. The Kate Middleton effect took the world and hair salons by storm. Everyone has rushing out trying to recreate Kate’s fabulous blow-dried look, featuring loose curls and not a hair out of place. When she opts for an up-do, the duchess’ hair is just as perfect and neat. Meghan has shown us that these prim and proper hairstyles are a royal tradition of the past and one that she isn’t that taken with, having recently stepped out on two separate occasions with her hair twisted into a loose wispy bun with pieces left out to frame her face. It has to be said, though, that this is a fabulous look on Meghan and one that is still rather elegant and undeniably stylish.
8 No Stockings
Many were left surprised late last year when Meghan stepped out to announce her engagement minus any stockings to accompany her dress. Some thought Meghan was breaking one of the most expected royal style rules, while others found it refreshing that she was doing what felt natural for her. Kate Middleton and Queen Elizabeth are both big fans of a short tea dress, but they always ensure to keep their look discreet by pairing sheer stockings underneath. Nevertheless, Meghan didn’t feel obliged to follow this fashion rule. In fairness to the former actress, she did wear an appropriate length dress that fell well below her knee, and one may argue that the stocking rule is a bit outdated for the times we live in now. It’s clear that Meghan is going to bring a modern touch into the royal family.
7 Low-Cut Neckline
Low-cut necklines are a staple red-carpet trend for Hollywood actresses, and during her public appearances while starring in her former TV show Suits, Meghan would often be seen sporting just this. However, this is not something that would be very appropriate for a member of the royal family. The Royals tend to be much more conservative than this, and modesty is always a priority around the Buckingham Palace. The Royals will always be seen with more concealing necklines and cuts, often not even revealing their knees. As this is common protocol for members of the family, Meghan will no longer be able to choose such red-carpet-style dresses for her public appearances.
6 Ripped Denim
Ripped or distressed denim is a trend that is everywhere you look these days and is almost impossible to escape. Meghan, like most other humans these days, has been happy to give this common trend a try, having been pictured on more than one occasion sporting denim jeans with a tear in them. Denim isn’t completely a no-go for the royal family. Most notably, when Kate joined the family, there was a subtle and not inappropriate transition into more casual street wear when appropriate. The duchess, however, often opts for a more polished dark denim in a tailored skinny fit that can still come across as quite dressy and professional-looking in certain situations. If you think back to Meghan’s first ever public appearance with Prince Harry, you will remember that she opted for faded jeans with slits on the knees and a cut-off hemline. Although Meghan looked effortlessly cool and stylish, we’re not sure if this is a look that the Queen would entirely love.
5 Dark Nail Polish
It isn’t just clothing choices that have to follow a certain etiquette in the royal household, but even nail polish is something that must be carefully considered. Interestingly, up until now, Kate Middleton has never been spotted or photographed wearing nail polish of any sort of color. On the other hand, Queen Elizabeth has maintained a soft pink manicure for over 30 years, never being photographed without it. However, in the past, Meghan has been seen wearing very dark nail polish, a contrast to the other women in the royal family. Of course, Meghan was spotted with this polish before the announcement of her engagement to Prince Harry, so it’s likely that she won’t be wearing such dark shades in the future.
4 Regular Handbag
One of the most interesting royal style staples is the choice of handbag, and the reasoning behind it is every bit as fascinating. An unspoken royal fashion rule dictated by the Queen is to always carry a clutch versus a handbag or tote. If you look back at any public appearances from both the Queen and Kate Middleton, you will notice how they will always opt for a small clutch bag as opposed to any other style of handbag. They will then grasp the clutch with both hands to avoid shaking hands with people. Whether she was aware of this protocol or not is completely unknown, but at one of her first public appearances with Prince Harry, Meghan deiced to carry a burgundy and navy tote bag on her arm.
3 Short Skirts
Not only are royals not supposed to wear low-cut dresses, but they will also always stray away from dresses with a low hemline or anything that cuts off above the knee. Meghan, unlike many other actresses in Hollywood, has always chosen to go with more modest dresses, many of which would not be considered short by any standards. Well, except for royal standards, as these dresses stop above knee length. They would not be something seen as appropriate for a member of the royal family to wear. Therefore, Meghan will now have to reconsider all the above-the-knee dresses in her closet.
2 Mini Dress
This revealing red mini dress is breaking royal protocol in more than one way. Not only does the dress cut off well above the knee but it also is very low cut. These are two rules that royals are expected not to break. However, it’s very obvious that this picture was taken long before Meghan’s days of being associated with the royal family. Not only this, but it was snapped even years before her breakthrough acting role in Suits, when she was a game show host on Deal or no Deal. Therefore, it is unfair for Meghan to be criticized for this look because there was no way she could have known that in the years to come, she would go on to become engaged to Prince Harry. Despite this, it would still be fascinating to hear Queen Elizabeth’s thoughts on this little red number.
1 Sheer Top
So far, the most questionable item Meghan has worn would probably have to be this sheer Ralph & Russo garment from her official engagement photoshoot with Prince Harry. The sheer dress consisted of strategically-placed embroidery with the rest being made up of a see-through material. This was definitely one of the most risque looks we’ve seen from the royal family. Although some were disappointed or unimpressed with Meghan’s straying away from the traditional royal look, many others praised the former actress for her forward way of thinking, opting to wear what she wants and not what she feels obligated to. It would still be very interesting to hear Queens Elizabeth’s thoughts on this stylish and sheer number, though.