Meghan Markle May Not Be Attending the Met Gala but Princess Diana and Princess Beatrice Once Did

We’re looking back at two instances when members of the British royal family did attend the fashion industry’s “Super Bowl” following false reports that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex had been planning on attending the 2020 Met Gala. Ahead, check out Princess Diana’s one and only Met Gala appearance as well as one from Princess Beatrice of York.

What is the Met Gala?

The Met Gala or the Met Ball is an annual event held the first Monday in May to benefit the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala in New York City. Every year, the high-profile event has a dress code that reflects the theme of the latest exhibition.

Examples of past Met Gala themes have included Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity, and Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years. 

What happens at the Met Gala?

To kick off the opening of the museum’s massive exhibition, celebrities, musicians, royals, and notable figures in the fashion industry attend the event decked out in their finest outfits meeting that particular year’s theme. While at the Met Gala, guests are treated to a first look at the exhibition before it opens to the public as well as dinner and musical performances. 

Rihanna arrives at the 2018 Met Gala on May 7, 2018
Rihanna arrives at the 2018 Met Gala on May 7, 2018 | HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

Some past guests include Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kacey Musgraves, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and of course Diana and Beatrice. Over the years, the Met Gala has become a prestigious event to get invited to because every name on the guest list must pass muster with Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, who chairs the event. She does so along with co-chairs who are handpicked. 

Princess Diana went to the Met Gala in 1996

Two months before her divorce from Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, became official, Diana went to the Met Gala wearing a navy blue Dior slip dress that has gone on to become one of her most memorable fashion moments.

Diana, Princess of Wales attends the at Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1996
Diana, Princess of Wales attends the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1996 | Richard Corkery/NY Daily News via Getty Images

The theme that year had been Christian Dior. Appropriately, Diana wore an outfit by the designer but she almost wore something else. 

According to Express, royal biographer Katie Nicholl wrote in her 2010 book, William and Harry, Diana nearly opted to wear another outfit because she didn’t want to embarrass her son, a then-14-year-old Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.

Princess Beatrice of York went to the Met Gala in 2018

Diana’s niece, 31-year-old Princess Beatrice, attended the Met Gala in 2018 when the theme had been Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and The Catholic Imagination.

Princess Beatrice of York attends the Costume Institute Gala on May 7, 2018 | Karwai Tang/Karwai Tang/Getty Images

She wore a purple gown and a crown-like headband as she posed on the museum’s steps. In the future, Beatrice might attend with her fiancé, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. The two are set to wed on May 29, just a few weeks after the 2020 Met Gala on May 4. 

And just because Meghan won’t be walking the steps of the Met on the first Monday in May doesn’t mean we won’t one day see her at the event given her past work with British Vogue. She guest-edited the magazine’s 2019 Forces for Change issue that has since become its fastest-selling issue ever.