When it comes to fashion, the royal family takes clothing and personal style very seriously — so much so that they follow strict style rules. But it has nothing to do with setting trends and helping retail sales (though they are very good at that). In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
The royals use clothing as a tool to fulfill their responsibilities, ensuring they look the part and meet their duties to the highest degree. By following a strict dress code for weddings (page 4), funerals (page 6), holidays (page 8), and more, royals send a clear message about who they are and what they are doing.
Ahead, we look at how Meghan Markle has to dress for every royal occasion at Buckingham Palace and beyond.
1. State banquets and receptions
State banquets and receptions are a common occurrence for the royal family. Married women often are expected to wear tiaras and long gowns for these evening events, and they may also wear long, white, Cinderella-style gloves.
Next: Meghan has already had to dress for these.
2. Official engagements
Official engagement is a broad term to describe the many different events and appearances the royal family makes in the year — most of which involve nonprofit visits, forums, and other celebrations. Although the dress code can vary, for the most part Meghan must dress in a smart, upscale manner.
Next: The queen’s version of a theme party
3. Garden parties
When it comes to garden parties, the queen does not mess around. Often held in the garden at Buckingham Palace during the warmer spring and summer months, women who attend the parties — including Kate Middleton — typically wear a nice hat or fascinator and a floral or colorful (or both!) dress.
Next: Royal weddings require an outfit change.
4. Royal weddings
Weddings are considered very formal events for the royal family. For daytime receptions, Meghan must wear a fancy hat or fascinator and then change into a tiara in the evening. That said, she won’t be allowed to wear a sparkling headpiece until her wedding day, as only married women have the honor of wearing one of the queen’s tiaras.
Next: Meghan will most likely attend at least two of these extremely formal events in her lifetime.
Meghan will most likely attend at least two coronations in her lifetime: one for Prince Charles and one for Prince William. That said, as one of the most monumental royal family events, she must be dressed appropriately.
She will likely have multiple outfit changes, depending on the time of day. As far as headwear is concerned, for daytime festivities she will probably wear a hat or fascinator — like other formal daytime events. And at night, she will switch over to a tiara and other crown jewels.
Next: The real reason Meghan has to pack an all-black outfit when traveling
6. State funerals
Funerals are another formal occasion for the royal family. However, in addition to sporting a hat or fascinator, Meghan will also be expected to dress in all black.
Fun fact: When traveling abroad, members of the royal family must pack an all-black outfit in case there is a death in the family. It is protocol for them to be seen wearing all black while traveling back to London.
Next: How royals get around this one strict style rule
7. Sporting events
Royals are not allowed to dress in casual clothing — the extent of their casual outfits are blouses and nice jeans — so they must get creative for sporting events. Case in point: Take the outfit Meghan Markle wore while attending the UK team trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. The royal paired a sporty Invictus Games polo with a pair of bootleg jeans, heels, and a stylish green trench coat.
Next: There’s no sitting around in pajamas on Christmas Day.
For Christmas service, members of the royal family are expected to dress in their Sunday best, with the women in hats or fascinators. Meghan has already had some practice with this rule, as she donned her first hat on Christmas Day 2017.
Next: This event has a lot in common with royal weddings.
Like weddings, christenings are considered formal. Often occurring during the day, Meghan will have to wear a nice hat to symbolize the importance — read: formality — of the day.
Next: We can’t imagine how long it takes to select outfits for these occasions.
10. Royal tours
Royal tours are an important part of royal responsibilities. And with so many events to attend overseas, royals must prepare for all types of events — including state dinners, charity events, nonprofit visits, and more.
With that in mind, Meghan will have to pack her bags accordingly and be sure to include outfits that fit within the royal family’s style rules for each occasion on her calendar. On top of that, she will also have to pack an all-black outfit in case of a sudden death and dress in a smart manner for travel days (no yoga pants or sweats for royals).
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