Meghan Markle is shaking things up.
The American star is transforming into a British royal before our eyes, thanks in part to newly released official portraits of her and her future husband, Prince Harry. The couple surprised royal enthusiasts Thursday when Kensington Palace released the highly anticipated sweet shots of the pair. Thanks to a few different poses, the future bride and groom were captured outside embracing each other on a step, cuddling up to each other and walking hand in hand.
Thanks to the third full-length candid shot—an outtake from their portrait sitting—fans get a better look at the ensemble Markle chose for the significant images. On the actress is a black gown featuring a sheer top embroidered with gold feather details and finished with a statement-making tulle ruffled skirt. The dress is a Ralph & Russo design from the brand's autumn-winter 2016/2017 collection, fitting considering the brand is a British haute couture fashion house. Remember: sartorial diplomacy!
As seems to be a trend of Markle's wardrobe as of late, the star is considerate of her new role while remaining true to her stylish identity. Simply, she doesn't seem afraid to go against the royal grain. "Meghan chose a glamorous designer ballgown for the photos, which is a departure from royal engagement photos of the past," Meghan's Mirror editor Christine Ross told E! News.
"Most royals try to appear more accessible and casual in these photos, but Meghan did things her own way and donned a sparkling gown instead. It shows that she is going to create her own path as a royal and, even in a formal gown, she is still just Meghan—that down-to-earth girl from L.A."
As an example, there's a clear contrast between Markle's ensemble and the one her future sister-in-law, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, picked for her portraits with Prince William ahead of their 2011 nuptials. In the similar shots, Middleton sported a simpler white dress with a matching jacket.
While Markle's gown is at the forefront of two of the new photos, there's also a slice of a light sweater in the close-up shot of the two nuzzling each other. The topper is by Victoria Beckham, another British designer.
As for the pictures themselves, the mix of high fashion with the easygoing outdoor location allows the actress to be simultaneously upscale and relatable. "The two photos are such a great contrast. In one, she looks very glamorous, relaxing on the floor in her haute couture gown. It almost reminds us of the photo of Princess Margaret in the bathtub wearing a tiara!" Ross pointed out. "In the second, she looks like every other girl in love, close to her Prince Charming, in a casual, cozy sweater."
The look of love—Markle's best accessory yet.