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Many people choose to phone it in during their last day at a job. But fashion-wise, Meghan Markle was not about to go gently into her final official duty as a royal. The Duchess of Sussex arrived at the annual Commonwealth Day celebration in a gemstone green fitted frock by Emilia Wickstead and matching fishnet fascinator. Business as usual.
The Duchess’ dress had a demi-cape slung over her left shoulder, which made the entire look seem just a bit art deco. It would not have looked out-of-place on Wallis Simpson in 1936. She carried a Gabriela Hearst purse.
After a weekend spent coordinating outfits with Prince Harry—more specifically, matching her dress to his ties—the two twinned once again before returning to their new lives in Canada. Though they chose to not walk the procession alongside the Queen, the family all sat together in Westminster Abbey.
As they entered the church they were married in, the fabric draping over Meghan’s shoulder breezed in the wind quite photogenically, and she smiled for the cameras. For a couple who decided to eschew tradition so boldly, sending British tabloids into a tizzy with their January announcement of ditching their lives as royals, it was a very diplomatic display—even if Meghan’s outfit looked fussy, like an American’s idea of how British people dress.
Though Meghan gamely took a victory lap through the UK this week, one cannot help but close-read her overdone look as a statement on her allegedly-miserable life as a duchess. The dress seems a little self-conscious, and way too much. Plus, a neckline like that is always itchy on the collarbone.
Meghan and Harry sat behind Kate and William in the chapel, and the group formerly known as the Fab Four did not speak to each other while waiting for things to begin. Anyone who has ever cursed their assigned dinner table at a wedding might understand the feeling.
If Meghan went for slight costumey drama, Kate played it safe in a go-to style from one of her favorite designers. As Harper’s Bazaar noted, she opted for a rusty crimson red coat dress by Catherine Walker. It’s an outfit she knows well, having worn it on Christmas in 2018. It was a far cry from the sartorial risks she took during her visit to Ireland last week (vintage Oscar de la Renta! Polka dots! A haircut!), but it got the job done.
Like all fun aunts, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex (who is married to the Queen’s son Prince Edward), had a front row seat to family drama she’s mostly removed from. She and her husband sat next to Meghan and Harry, Sophie wearing a white sheath with a black swoosh print on the skirt. A solid effort, and probably a preview of what’s to come if Sophie takes up more of Meghan’s duties.
Of course, no royal engagement party gets started until the Queen arrives, and she did so in a periwinkle coat dress and matching wide-brim hat. She sat with her family, and all three of the women stood out from the sea of black and navy suits in their colorful ensembles.
So the last day that Meghan and Harry have to sit up straight in uncomfortable wooden seats has come and gone. The young family will head back to Canada and their son Archie to a future that could involve more corporate speeches and dinners with J.Lo.
If you want a preview of what Meghan’s closet might look like post-palace, check out the ultra-glam, slightly Bond girl red cape Safiyaa gown she wore to a black tie event on Saturday.
Meghan, a vocal environmentalist, loves to rewear her designer dresses, but don’t hold your breath for a repeat performance of the high-necked, church-approved jade number she picked for Monday.
Here’s hoping she gets home, back to her beloved yoga pants and knitted beanies, as quickly as possible.