Meghan Markle’s outfit for her first official engagement as a married woman was a drastic departure from her pre-wedding style, suggesting the former actress is keen to respect her new family’s strict standards.
The newly-minted Duchess of Sussex attended a garden party on Wednesday (Tuesday UK time) in honour of Prince Charles’ 70th birthday, clad in a head-to-toe pale pink look many interpreted as her maiden voyage into conservative royal dressing.
The most notable addition to her look? A pair of shiny nude stockings, in keeping with the Queen’s reportedly “steadfast” rule that female royals must wear nude pantyhose at all official engagements.
Although her sister-in-law Kate Middleton is never photographed without them, Meghan has predominantly steered clear of the old-fashioned clothing item.
Did Meghan Markle Model Her Garden Party Look After Kate Middleton? See Their Outfits Side-by-Side. pic.twitter.com/V0KYT6XSOs
— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) May 22, 2018
But even Meghan bowing to unseen pantyhose pressure wasn’t satisfactory for many royal watchers, who observed her stockings were a few shades too light for her skin colour.
“Her stylist needs to find matching pantyhose,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Who’s making diverse stockings in a range of skin tones for the new HRH, Duchess of Sussex?” another added.
No whispies and white pantyhose- she’s really in the club now!
— She Persisted (@rlnbeauty) May 22, 2018
Others were more sympathetic to Markle’s plight.
“Think about the fact that Meghan Markle has to wear pantyhose in public all the time now – whether it’s chilly outside or a sweltering summer day. I don’t envy that,” Racked reporter Nadra Little wrote.
The newlywed also sported a long-sleeved dress from British label Goat (the brand’s website crashed shortly after), a wide-brimmed hat by Irish milliner Phillip Treacy and pointed pumps by Tamara Mellon.
Her hair was pulled back into a tight side bun, a change from the “messy bun” hairstyle she’s sported at public events since announcing her engagement.
The more streamlined hairstyle was perhaps a response to the memes circulated after Saturday’s wedding – Meghan’s decision to wear the hairstyle to her own wedding with the Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara inspired thousands on social media to offer her a bobby pin.
My wedding gift to Meghan pic.twitter.com/2D7NIBO524
— Monique Bowley (@moniquebowley) May 19, 2018
Meghan has been criticised in the past for flouting royal rules, particularly when announcing her engagement to Prince Harry in November 2017, when she went bare-legged. It was regarded as an affront to the Queen.
She was also criticised for her attire while attending a memorial event for murdered British teenager Stephen Lawrence, with many deeming her sleeveless Hugo Boss dress “inappropriate” for the sombre occasion.
In January 2018, she had many clutching at their pearls by wearing mismatched earrings – intentionally – for a visit to Wales with Prince Harry.
Well, I was hoping her navy cape dress would be a sartorial turning point, but apparently not. Sorry (not sorry) but this isn’t appropriate for a memorial service. Messy hair, deep v-neck, no sleeves…just, no. #meghanmarkle pic.twitter.com/hL4Oh7197q
— Duchess of Pemberley (@World_Royalty) April 23, 2018
However, this latest outfit is evidence that fashion risk-taking may be a thing of the past and Meghan, as a married woman, is ready to uphold unspoken dressing regulations.
According to E! Online, these regulations include no dark nail polish, no wedges (the Queen reportedly “despises” the shoe style) and no mini-skirts.
Shortly after her engagement to Prince Harry, Meghan was also forced to delete her popular Instagram account, which had over a million followers, as the royals are not allowed to use social media or take selfies with fans.
One sign the real Meghan was still in there: her protective hand on Harry’s back as they headed back inside Buckingham Palace. It was an unusually physical move in the context of the tightly-laced royal family.
“Clearly the post wedding glow hasn’t rubbed off given that PDA!” Daily Mail royal correspondent Rebecca English tweeted.
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) May 22, 2018