Meghan Markle’s Wedding Dress, a Statement of Strong Identity

by KEISHEL A. WILLIAMS

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The biggest secret in royal history has finally been revealed! She’s wearing Givenchy. Meghan Markle’s wedding dress has been the best-kept secret of 2018, with twists and turns even up to the moment the dress was first revealed as she entered St. George’s Chapel. The simple bateau neckline trumpet dress was designed by British designer Clare Waight Keller for the French fashion house. In a statement on Twitter, Kensington Palace intimated: “Ms. Meghan Markle’s wedding dress has been designed by the acclaimed British designer, Clare Waight Keller. Ms. Waight Keller last year became the first female Artistic Director at the historic French fashion house Givenchy,” a confirmation long awaited by everyone who was holding their breaths. 

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In months leading up to the royal wedding, there were many speculations about who would secure the most coveted position of Royal Wedding Dress designer including British Haute Couture house Ralph & Russo, who designed the dress Markle wore for her official engagement photos. Designers Stella McCartney and Erdem Moralioglu for Burberry was even tossed around, with some assuming that the latter was the chosen designer when she emerged from the car. But it was not to be. Nevertheless, the dress emerged as a sea of symbolism. The timeless elegance of the dress toned down the modern Hollywood glamour that was anticipated for the actress who instead produced somewhat of an old school Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn look – clean lines, refined personality. Markle walked into her future in a well-sculpted silk three-quarter sleeved dress with a silk tulle veil of more than sixteen feet (five meters)long, heavily accented with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers in silk threads and organza. As a nod to her new position as Youth Ambassador of the Commonwealth alongside her husband, Markle had the fifty-three flowers of the Commonwealth nations embroidered in her veil in addition to Wintersweet, a flower which grows on Kensington Palace grounds, and California Poppy the flower of Markle’s birthplace, California. 

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Speaking of Kensington Palace grounds Markle’s bouquet included Forget-Me-Nots, Princess Diana’s favorite flowers, picked by Prince Harry the day before from the Kensington Palace garden. A beautiful symbol of love for both women. The bride’s hair which was swept back in a debonair manner sat low under the veil accented by the Queen Mary tiara bandeau from, a 1932 heirloom on loan from HRH Queen Elizabeth. Her classic Cartier earrings and single bracelet along with her fresh-faced minimalist makeup tied the look together. 

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By choosing a dress that so represents her as much as it incorporates the multiple facets of her life, Markle has made a bold statement – as she often does – expressing her ability to seamlessly blend two worlds together; one of tradition and simplicity and the other of glamour and modernity. The meticulousness of her look brought diversity, female independence, and change to a traditional institution that has been slowly making room for just this moment.  As she took her place in the 1883 carriage alongside the Prince, her new husband, it was evident that she went into that chapel as Ms. Meghan Markle, and returned as HRH Dutchess of Sussex. 

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