Royal protocol can be a bit daunting. From heavy hats to itchy pantyhose and a ban on all things leggings (gasp!) — keeping up with the strict sartorial standards of the royal household is an intimidating task. While growing up royal includes etiquette lessons on dress code and protocol, for commoners joining the ‘institution’ — it’s a shock to learn that sweatpants and sneakers (goodbye Yeezys) won’t cut it. In fact, being royal means looking presentable for travel, shopping and even off-duty dining.
Duchess Meghan joined the House of Windsor in May 2018 and found her fashion bible with its style scripture to be a no-go with palace personnel. And while she did relinquish some of her casual commandments — the duchess did not throw away her full dressing doctrine.
Here are 8 Times Duchess Meghan Markle Broke the Royal Fashion Rulebook:
1. Shoulder Show
The duchess ditched demure in favor of a clavicle heavy display for Trooping the Colour–proving she was not one to immediately adopt the princess strategy of turtleneck appreciation — she showed some serious skin on the Buck balcony.
2. Bigger is Better
Meghan dismissed the idea of carrying a clutch for her first outing with Prince Harry to greet well-wishers on a walkabout in Nottingham in December 2017. Instead, the duchess did the unthinkable and brought a burgundy and vanilla tote from Strathberry with enough room for her beloved Rick Hoffman snow globe (we’re guessing).
3. Shoe Scandal
Meghan’s continuous dedication to skinny stiletos, lace-up heels and perilously high pumps was enough to leave the royal chiropractor with the night sweats. Rebuffing the idea of simple pumps or drab court shoes, Meghan wore her friskiest footwear even on royal duty.
4. Leather Looker
Dressing like she was on her way to a corporate Christmas party for hot people, Meghan left no crumbs in her glossy getup in Chichester, West Sussex in October 2018. The Queen was likely left speechless watching her granddaughter-in-law in lambskin leather pencil skirt and flirty blouse mucking about with her subjects. The only thing more insulting? Taking selfies with the crowd or snogging in the family range rover.
5. Hamming it Up
Not one to wear her Amish best, the duchess stepped out for a musical performance of Hamilton in a mini tuxedo dress by Judith & Charles. Onlookers were shocked that Harry’s better half dared to bare in a thigh-skimming double-breasted dress with legs on full display. Following the summer 2018 appearance, it’s speculated the Queen’s courtiers sent Meghan pantyhose care packages in bulk.
6. Ripping Up the Rulebook
Showing more knee than Princess Anne has done in her entire royal career, Meghan gave the paparazzi a peek of patella with her distressed Mother Denim jeans at the Invictus Opener in fall 2017. She paired the frayed bottoms with another sartorial scandal: an untucked Misha Nonoo ‘Husband’ linen button-down shirt.
7. The Queen’s Gambit
Tradition dictates that hats are worn for outings with the sovereign, yet Meghan kept her tresses on display for an outing with the Queen in June 2018. The royal rules seemed less stifling, more sensible when a gust of wind kept the Queen’s hairstyle neatly in place but left Meghan with windblown locks.
8. Flying the Coop
Courting scandal, Meghan left the men in grey suits doubled up on antacids when she ditched the Crown’s canons in favor of high couture. Parting ways with pussy-bow blouses and floral heavy frocks seen on other royal brides-to-be, the duchess sparked a fashion furor when she wore a revealing Ralph & Russo sheer feather appliquéd gown for engagement photos with her prince.