If she was remotely rattled by the past few weeks of sniping at her alleged falling out with Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle didn’t show it Monday night, when she shrugged off the tedious business of troublesome headlines to put in a showstopping appearance at the British Fashion Awards, stunning an audience of British fashion royalty with a sensational surprise debut.
Wearing a tight-fitting one-shouldered black velvet gown that elegantly showcased her baby bump, Meghan came on stage to present an award to her wedding dress designer, Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy, at the Royal Albert Hall on Monday evening.
In an extraordinary moment of theatre at a the glamorous industry awards ceremony, the compere announced, “I have a surprise for you in store. To announce the award for British Designer Womenswear, we have a very special guest. Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Sussex.”
The crowd went wild as Meghan, her hair scraped back in a modest bun and accessorized only with simple gold earrings and gold bangles, walked on stage.
“Good evening everyone, it is such a pleasure to be here in my new home of the UK,” Meghan began to roars of appreciation.
There has never been a royal performance quite like it. Meghan, with years of stage and screen training behind her, owned the stage like no other royal ever has before. If William really did ever have doubts about her suitability for the role, let's hope they were crushed tonight.
Meghan, holding a prompt card but not referring to it, thanked the audience of “familiar faces” for their warm welcome, who cheered her throughout her speech. “It is such a pleasure to be here, celebrating British fashion and British fashion designers, in my new home of the U.K.”
She said: “As all of you in this room know, we have a deep connection to what we wear… sometimes it's very personal and sometimes it's emotional. But for me this connection is rooted in really being able to understand that it's about supporting and empowering each other, especially as women.”
“When we choose to wear a certain designer we are not just a reflection of their creativity and their vision but we are also an extension of their values, of something, in the fabric, so to speak, that is much more meaningful. I recently read an article that said, 'The culture of fashion has shifted from one where it was cool to be cruel, to now, where it’s cool to be kind.'
“To that point, I feel especially proud to announce tonight's winner who, yes, is a British designer leading on the global stage with vision and creativity, but also with incredible kindness.”
When she and Waight Keller had met 11 months previously, Meghan said she knew “we would be working very closely together.”
Meghan then announced Waight Keller as the winner.
When Waight Keller, the first female creative director of Givenchy, had recovered from her shock, she said of Meghan, who stood to her side gently supporting her baby bump.
To cheers, Waight Keller said, “This woman is so amazing. I got to know Meghan on such a personal level. To have someone like that trust you in an incredible moment in their life is something that is just the most unbelievable honor. I can’t thank you enough because it was just the most beautiful moment.”
As Meghan stepped into the spotlight, engaging and flattering the crowd and their profession, there was a sensation of something entirely new; a media-savvy royal who could teach the old Palace guard a thing or two. Whatever, she has certainly won over the fashion world.