The Royal Act: Meghan Markle and The Art of Revenge-Dressing

Bidding farewell to a life of royalty, the soon-to-be-former Duchess of Sussex is making her last few public appearances in striking fashion, seemingly sending subtle messages for the British monarchy

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(Photo from Vox)

Since the news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s relationship first broke out, the public has been probing into the life of Meghan. Her background became the heated topic of conversations for a long time albeit the royal couple has been evasive of the media at the start. Even until the end, with their recent announcement of stepping down from royal duties, the couple has once again become headline mainstays.

Beginning April, they will transition into a new chapter in their lives, leaving behind the royal life. Yet Meghan continues to receive attention in all aspects, her choice of apparel included. Many remarked at the striking outfits she wore at her and Prince Harry’s last few public appearances as seniors of the British royal family.

The public is used to seeing Meghan in neutrals that her recent bold ensembles had everyone wondering and even suspecting, they are witnessing her art of ‘revenge-dressing.’ She has been under scrutiny for so long and now that she is stepping down from the limelight, let’s just say it seems to be a subtle message of letting the British monarchy regret treating her the way they did.

Princess Diana. (Photo from Reader’s Digest)

Wearing Controversies

The British royal family is no stranger to the spotlight. Remember Princess Diana’s iconic curve-hugging, black off-shoulder dress? The daring Christina Stambolian design shocked everyone. And of course, Diana’s choice to wear it after her split with Prince Charles who admitted cheating on her with Camilla Parker Bowles. Diana’s stylist revealed the princess “wanted to look a million dollars,” and she definitely did.

Diana was not the only royalty to wear controversial pieces. On her first meeting of Meghan as the future duchess, Princess Michael of Kent wore a blackamoor brooch. Many criticized her for it, as the brooch’s history dates back to the mistreatment of black people as slaves in the 13th century. The Princess later apologized but the damage has been done. Whether worn with intent or not, British royals certainly could not escape attention.

(Photos from Elle, Fashionista, and The Business of Fashion)

The Not-so-secret Message

With the British media’s fixation on Meghan, it is no surprise they even criticize her choice of apparel. From her first public appearance with Prince Harry to official engagements across the globe, Meghan typically wears pieces in a neutral solid palette. She wore beige trench coats, tops in rose and blush colors, sleek black dresses, and gray blazers. Meghan has worn the occasional yellow like in Your Commonwealth Youth Challenge reception. Yet a royal source reveals Meghan sticks to muted colors to establish her position as the duchess. Meghan dons on “Looks that weren’t overpowering that wouldn’t take away from the work itself… so her style didn’t become the story and distract from her charity work.”

(Photos from Daily Mail, Evening Standard, and Harper’s Bazaar)

That is why everyone was thrilled to see Meghan in a lovely, turquoise Victoria Beckham pencil dress at Endeavor Fund Awards. It was her first public appearance after two months. It starts the countdown to her and Prince Harry’s official exit from royalty. A few days later at the Mountbatten Music Festival, Meghan stunned many again with her electric red Safiyaa dress. She matched it with Prince Harry who most likely wore his formal red military uniform for the last time. Following this bold choice, Meghan surprised once more with her Emilia Wickstead’s emerald green dress at Monday’s Commonwealth Day service. Apart from the color, its dramatic cape paired with a green hat by William Chambers was truly captivating.

(Photo from Marie Claire)

Many have been espousing the idea that Meghan’s choices were revenge-dressing. She was unapologetic with the colors and bold-faced for wearing British designers after much criticism for the lack of doing so in the past years. Together with her bright, unperturbed smile, she exudes the radiance and confidence of a woman proud of her decisions, most especially with leaving behind the royal life. Her striking and dramatic ensembles seem to be the ultimate farewell, proving the world she remains unbothered amid controversies. Is it really a form of revenge against the British monarchy? Who knows. But one thing is certain: no one does it like Meghan Markle.

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