How Meghan Markle Bent the Royal Style Rules on Her Wedding Day

How she merged old and new traditions

By Diana Nguyen May 20, 2018 11:00 AMTags
ESC: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, HighsBEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

Meghan Markle was simply perfection.

The Duchess of Sussex donned a custom Givenchy gown, created by Clare Waight Keller, to her nuptials to Prince Harry Saturday at Windsor Castle. The royal stunned in an elegant gown, diamond tiara lent by Queen Elizabeth II and a 16-foot veil. Needless to say, there was not a hair out of place! But did Meghan create any royal style faux pas? 

The blushing bride seemed to cover all the bases. Floor-length dress? Check. Covered arms? Check. Headpiece? Check. As royal protocol dictates, she even got the queen's approval on the dress days before the wedding.

So how did this modern bride bring her style perspective to the big day? She tiptoed the line between old-world traditions and contemporary preferences.

"What a historical moment by Claire Waight from Givenchy! She looks breathtaking," said stylist Sadaf Razi, who has worked with Meghan in the past. "It's both soft and ethereal but classic and completely regal at the same time. It captures her essence perfectly in a dress that is both strong and feminine." 

While any cleavage or shoulders should be covered, per royal etiquette, Meghan cleverly opted for an open bateau neckline, the key feature of her dress. It opened up the conservative dress without revealing too much.

Owen Humphreys WPA Pool/Getty Image

"The bateau neckline frames her décolletage perfectly," noted Sadaf. "And the sculptural design and beautiful tailoring showcases her figure in a demure manner."

Instead of the lace or embellished designs typically seen at royal weddings (think: Kate Middeton's Alexander McQueen wedding dress), Meghan's silk material, sourced from mills across Europe, took front and center.

"The matte luster is a break from tradition. It's a strong fabric rather than something overly soft like lace," the stylist added. "It's a contemporary design for a contemporary bride."

And while it's become more of an expectation than a rule, Meghan opted for a French couture design house, rather than a British atelier, to create her dress. To be fair, Waight Keller was born in Birmingham, England. The royal family is known for supporting UK-based designers and brands (call it patriotism), and ever since Meghan has been dating Harry, her wardrobe has been uncannily British or Canadian, a member of the commonwealth of England. Perhaps the new duchess wanted to tap into Givenchy's global reach, as her roots are decidedly international. 

You do you, Meghan.