Most Controversial Fashion Choices Made By the Royal Family
Prominent members of the British royal family have become pillars for fashion trends, especially the younger generation. But with a set royal dress code they are supposed to follow, it’s no surprise they get it wrong sometimes — and raise eyebrows in the process. From Kate Middleton’s fly-away skirt to Prince Harry’s bad costume choice, here’s a look at 15 of the most controversial fashion choices made by the royal family. (Although we’ll be honest, the ensemble on page 10 is a timeless classic.)
1. Meghan’s bare legs
Meghan Markle looked happy as could be when she and Prince Harry had the official photo shoot to announce their engagement. But royal watchers looked less at her elated demeanor and more at her bare legs under her dress-and-trench ensemble. Since ladies in the family are expected to wear nude stockings when out in public, Meghan’s naked gams were seen as breaking protocol.
Next: PETA wasn’t having it …
2. Kate’s fur gloves
After the Duchess of Cambridge posted photos from a family ski trip, she caught almost instant backlash because of her possum-fur gloves. In a statement, PETA UK director Mimi Bekhechi said: “If the gloves are indeed made of real fur, we’ll be contacting Kate, who we imagine is unaware that possums killed for their fur are often caught in bone-crushing steel-jaw traps.” Yikes!
Next: Perhaps the prince’s lowest point …
3. Harry’s costume party catastrophe
Before he was known for his charity work and marrying an American actress, the red-headed royal made headlines for his excessive partying and juvenile antics. But nothing got him into more trouble than when he was caught by photogs wearing a Nazi uniform to a dinner party.
Next: This was less about the outfit and more about the action …
4. William’s ‘yoga’ pants
Okay, Prince William being caught doing yoga in white jeans wasn’t exactly a controversy. But it definitely made for some pretty lively conversations on the internet when he was caught doing a low lunge twist pose before a polo match in 2016.
Next: Quite a bit of talk took place after this ensemble hit the red carpet …
5. Kate’s green gown
Kate Middleton looked positively radiant in the emerald green gown she wore to the BAFTAs in 2018. However, her choice of ensemble drew criticism from those who believed she should have followed the ceremony’s optional all-black dress code in support of the Time’s Up movement. (To be fair, the royals tend to stay away from making a statement when it comes to hot-button issues or politics.)
Next: An ongoing case of bucking the system …
6. Meghan’s bare shoulders
Long story short: Meghan Markle has no problem bucking royal fashion protocol. Especially when it comes to baring her shoulders. The Duchess of Sussex has shown her shoulders on multiple occasions, including at the Trooping the Colour festivities in 2018.
Next:Was there a (k)need to get worked up over this next outfit?
7. Eugenie’s knees
For anyone else, Princess Eugenie of York’s long-sleeved floral dress and below-the-knee boots were bang on trend. But if you’re going by the royal dress code, the frock was too revealing. Plus, she wasn’t wearing nude tights.
Next: This caused some major holiday scandal …
8. Michael of Kent’s brooch
Princess Michael of Kent grabbed headlines when she was photographed on her way to a royal family Christmas lunch wearing a blackamoor brooch “has been likened to exoticizing black people as servants,” Insider summarizes. Not a good choice of jewelry for the first time she was to meet Prince Harry’s mixed-race fiancee, Meghan.
Next: This fashion mishap has happened more than once …
9. Kate’s ‘Marilyn Monroe’ moment
Even the portrait of modesty, Queen Elizabeth has little weights sewn into the hems of her dresses to keep them from blowing up in the wind. Her granddaughter-in-law Kate, on the other hand, has foregone weights on a handful of windy occasions — and revealed a little more than she would like in the process.
Next: And while we’re on the subject of being revealing …
10. Diana’s ‘Revenge Dress’
On the same night in 1994 that a tell-all documentary revealed Prince Charles had an affair while married to Princess Diana, the “People’s Princess” showed up to a Vanity Fair party wearing an exquisite black dress that swiftly broke of royal protocol. Diana’s form-fitting, cleavage-baring number became known as the “revenge dress” and remains one of the late royal most remembered ensembles.
Next: This wasn’t completely her fault …
11. Kate’s island attire
If baring shoulders is a royal fashion faux pas, you know Duchess Catherine took major heat when she wore a strapless dress. Not to mention it was a dress from the Cook Islands that she wore to an official Solomon Islands’ event — a few thousand miles away. In her defense, however, it was later revealed she was gifted the dress by island officials themselves.
Next: Even before her engagement …
12. Meghan’s pre-royal jeans
Needless to say, the spotlight on what Meghan wears has been burning ever since it was first revealed that she and Prince Harry were dating. One of her first “blunders” was wearing ripped jeans when she accompanied Harry to the Invictus Games in 2017. Suffice to say, she hasn’t been seen in ripped denim since marrying into the family.
Next: The outfit that started it all …
13. Kate’s fashion show frock
Back in her college days at St. Andrew’s University — where she met her future husband, no less — Kate took part in a charity fashion show where she sported some incredibly revealing attire. One particular strapless, loose-knit see-through dress is rumored to be what first drew Prince William to her.
Next: It’s really amazing what gets royals into trouble, isn’t it?
14. Meghan’s manicure
Surprisingly, it wasn’t Meghan’s one-shoulder gown that she wore at The Fashion Awards in 2018 that caught all the attention. It was her black, vampy manicure — a far cry from the all-nude-nails rule that is part of royal family protocol. Royal watchers took to social media to applaud the duchess for her “bold” break in royal tradition.
Next: Last but not least …
15. Kate’s repeat ensemble
Constantly having eyes on what you’re wearing means sporting a new ensemble every time you step in front of the camera. But Duchess Catherine has bucked that trend by sporting the same lilac Roksanda dress on multiple occasions. Not only does the dress look great on her, but it shows that even royal have favorite pieces they like to wear on repeat — regardless of what the royal fashion rules are.
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