Happiest in sleek separates and neutral shades (see her back-to-business black cashmere polo by The Row, her wardrobe of crisp white shirts, and the muted Givenchy looks she favoured as a working royal), the Duchess of Sussex rarely ventures into bold color when it comes to clothes. Unlike the Queen, who has made vibrant coats in paintbox pinks, yellows and blues her signature, Meghan prefers black, navy, camel or taupe.
It’s why, when she does choose to wear an all-eyes-on-me shade in front of the cameras, she unfailingly makes a splash. Most recently, she attended the Salute to Freedom gala in New York on the arm of her prince, dressed in a scarlet Wes Gordon for Carolina Herrera gown with a neckline – and thigh-high slit – that reflected her new lifestyle, one unrestricted by the formalities of the royal bubble.
The timing is significant. Not only was the gala the Duchess’s first red-carpet outing following the birth of her second child, daughter Lilibet Diana, in June, it fell during a week in which Meghan has publicly lobbied for paid family leave in the US, and seen an appeal opened against the ruling in her successful privacy case against Associated Newspapers earlier this year. It’s not the first time the Duchess has turned to potent color when the level of scutiny she is under has become similarly intense.
At the Endeavour Awards, her first public outing following the announcement that she and Prince Harry would be stepping down as senior working royals, Meghan was a vision in a fitted Victoria Beckham dress in bright blue. For the couple’s last formal engagement before embarking on their new life in the US, Meghan wore Emilia Wickstead in an eye-catching shade of emerald green. The Duchess, it seems, draws strength from color. Below, see more of Meghan’s rare color-blocking moments from her years in the spotlight.
Breaking free from the formalities of royal dressing in a scarlet Carolina Herrera gown by Wes Gordon.
Shortly before they flew to the US to start their new life, the Duke and Duchess put in an appearance at the Endeavour Fund Awards in March 2020, with Meghan thrilling the paps in a form-fitting Victoria Beckham dress in an electric shade of blue.
Head to toe in red for the Mountbatten Festival of Music, including a Manolo Blahnik clutch and Simone Rocha earrings. This outing took place as the tabloid frenzy around the Duke and Duchess’s decision to step back from royal life reached fever pitch.
Meghan made sure her final formal engagement outfit was a memorable one.
Not one but two brilliant shades for a trip to Birkenhead in January 2019. Meghan, who was six months pregnant with Archie Harrison, wore a purple dress from Babaton by Aritzia under a scarlet Sentaler coat, adding red Stuart Weitzman heels for good measure.
Babaton by Aritzia
The Duchess reached for the royal purple dress again to attend the One Young World summit in October 2019.
The shade of blue a pregnant Meghan chose for a state dinner during the couple’s 2018 royal tour was a nod to their host country, Fiji.
Showing her support for American design in her early days as a Duchess, wearing sunshine-yellow Brandon Maxwell.
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk