Ever since her 2016 debut as Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Meghan Markle has been of the fashion world’s most closely watched figures as she attends public and private events.
Known to value control over her own image, Meghan’s pride in styling herself for major events was revealed in 2021, when an email exchange with a former courtier showed the royal’s emphasis on taking ownership of her own look.
Since her 2018 wedding, Meghan has mixed high-fashion couture brands with emerging designers and blended wardrobe staples with statement pieces to form a unique aesthetic.
Over the past 12 months, the public have seen the duchess dress for both important state occasions and glamorous red carpet events, each bringing a unique set of fashion criteria.
Here, as Meghan Markle celebrates her 42nd birthday on August 4, Newsweek looks at some of her top fashion moments from the past year.
One Young World Summit Wearing Another Tomorrow
In September 2022, Meghan and Prince Harry made their first working return to Britain since stepping down from their roles within the monarchy and moving to the U.S. in 2020.
The couple took a trip to Europe to attend a series of charity events for organizations they retained roles with post-2020. For the first of these Meghan made a bold fashion statement, wearing an all-red look from the activism-led label Another Tomorrow, to give an opening address at the One Young World summit in Manchester.
Invictus Games Event Wearing Annie Bing and Brandon Maxwell
For another event on their European charity tour, Meghan and Harry traveled to Dusseldorf in Germany, where the 2023 Invictus Games will be held this September.
The duchess opted for her favorite neutral tones for the engagements, wearing a halterneck knit top from Annie Bing and wide-legged pants from Brandon Maxwell. The latter featured a paper-bag waist, tied with a matching covered belt.
Floral Tributes For Queen Elizabeth II
During the Sussexes’ stay in Europe, Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96 at her Scottish home of Balmoral Castle. The couple postponed their return to the States in order to participate in the historic mourning events, culminating in a state funeral.
Two days after the monarch’s death, Harry and Meghan made a surprise appearance outside Windsor Castle to view floral tributes with the Prince and Princess of Wales. This was the first time they had been publicly reunited since 2020 and since the Sussexes’ interview with Oprah Winfrey that laid bare their strained relationships.
For the Windsor walkabout, Meghan wore an elegant black dress with a fluted skirt and quarter-length sleeves. The designer of the dress has not been publicly identified.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Lying-in-State Wearing Givenchy
For Queen Elizabeth’s lying-in-state ceremony, which took place five days before the state funeral, Meghan returned to one of her favorite designers for a chic black wool coat worn overtop a matching dress—the Paris house of Givenchy.
Givenchy has become closely associated with Meghan after she opted to break with the tradition of British royal brides wearing British-based designers, instead entrusting her wedding dress commission to Clare Waight Keller at the Paris fashion house.
State Funeral for Queen Elizabeth II Wearing Stella McCartney
For the state funeral itself, Meghan wore a respectful black dress with a statement cape that blended in with the black mourning dresses worn by other members of the late queen’s family.
The dress worn by the duchess was designed by Stella McCartney and the royal also owns a version of the outfit in navy blue. To accessorize the outfit, Meghan wore an oversized black wide-brimmed hat and a pair of pearl and diamond stud earrings that had been a personal gift from Queen Elizabeth herself.
Ripple of Hope Awards Wearing Louis Vuitton
In December 2022, Meghan and Prince Harry were honored with a Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award for addressing racial injustice and raising awareness for mental health causes since leaving the royal family.
For the event in New York City, the duchess made a striking impact in an all-white, off-the-shoulder gown designed by the French heritage fashion house of Louis Vuitton. The dress featured asymmetric pleating, which created a tulip-shaped skirt, and was styled simply with minimal jewelry and a pair of black high-heeled pumps.
LA Lakers Game Wearing Staud
A classic example of Meghan’s off-duty style was displayed at an LA Lakers game in April, which she attended with Prince Harry and members of the couple’s Archewell Organization.
For the event at the Crypto.com Arena, Meghan wore a two-piece short suit in pink linen from the brand Staud. The duchess paired her look with her often repeated stacked bracelet combination and gold Cartier tank watch.
Women of Vision Awards Wearing Johanna Ortiz
Perhaps Meghan’s most glittering fashion moment of the past 12 months was displayed at the Women of Vision awards in New York City on May 16.
For the event, at which the duchess was honored for her “global advocacy to empower and advocate on behalf of women and girls,” she wore a Johanna Ortiz mid-length dress in a metallic gold textile.
The royal paired her dress with a gold Cartier bracelet and a diamond tennis bracelet, as well as a pair of simple hoop earrings that complimented her Hollywood waved hair, draped across one shoulder.
James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek‘s royal reporter based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.
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