10 Royal Beauty & Fashion Traditions Meghan Markle Has Already Broken

by Jason Pham
Feb 22, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. ET

It should be known by now that the British royal family has a lot of rules, from banning selfies in Kensington Palace to forbidding royal women from taking off their coats in public, so Meghan Markle had better start studying. Plus, judging from how many royal family traditions she's already broken with (who knew a messy bun would be such a big deal?), she has a lot to learn before she ties the knot with Prince Harry in May.

Ahead, we’re keeping track of every royal beauty and fashion offense the actor has already committed. Though she’s broken dozens of other royal rules (ahem, signing an autograph), we’re keeping a close eye on the rebellious moves she’s making in the fashion and beauty departments.

Perhaps her missteps are purposeful and Markle is creating a lane for herself outside her family-to-be’s old-fashioned traditions. Perhaps she just doesn’t know the rules yet. Either way, it’s still amusing to look at every small royal mishap Markle has had on her way to becoming a duchess.


Originally posted on StyleCaster.

1 /10: Carrying Purses

1/10 :Carrying Purses

Markle defied royal tradition in November 2017 when she attended her first official engagement with Prince Harry carrying a burgundy and navy Strathberry tote bag.

According to royal etiquette expert William Hanson, royal women are encouraged to carry clutches rather than purses with straps to deter people from reaching to shake their hands.

Per tradition, people are only allowed to shake royal family members' hands if the royal extends their hand first — not the other way around. This is why Kate Middleton, now known as the Duchess of Cambridge, is frequently spotted with purses instead of handbags.

"It is protocol that you do not extend your hand to any member of the royal family (blood royal or those who have married into the family) unless their hand extends first," Hanson told the Daily Mail.

2 /10: Contouring Her Cheeks

2/10 :Contouring Her Cheeks

Though it's not an official rule, royal women traditionally keep their makeup simple and subtle. Though some women, such as Princess Diana with her blue eyeliner, have tiptoed outside the lines, most keep their makeup clean and natural-looking (i.e., Kate Middleton).

So Markle definitely made a statement when she wore fully contoured and rosy-blushed cheeks when she attended a Christmas Day church service in December.

3 /10: Wearing a Messy Bun

3/10 :Wearing a Messy Bun

The tradition for royal women to keep their hair sleek and fuss-free dates back to a decades-old rule barring women from showing their hair. Queen Elizabeth frequently nods to this tradition by keeping her hair hidden underneath a hat, while Kate Middleton has been photographed with her locks neatly tucked into a hairnet.

Given this tradition, Markle made big headlines when she stepped out twice with a messy bun. The look featured a loosely tied bun in the back of Markle's head with loose, wispy strands flying across her face in the wind.

4 /10: Not Wearing Pantyhose

4/10 :Not Wearing Pantyhose

Wearing a Canadian coat wasn't the only royal tradition Markle broke with on her engagement day. The actor committed a huge no-no when she stepped out to officially announce her engagement without pantyhose.

Markle's decision to flaunt her bare legs went against an age-old tradition in the royal family encouraging women to wear stockings. According to Today, Queen Elizabeth hasn't been photographed without pantyhose in 91 years, while Kate Middleton's polished stockings are known to bring pantyhose back in style. Perhaps Markle is starting her own trend. 

5 /10: Wearing a Sheer Dress

5/10 :Wearing a Sheer Dress

Markle made a statement in her official engagement photos with Prince Harry when she wore a sheer gold-leaf-embroidered black dress with a long ruffled skirt. In comparison to Kate Middleton's conservative white day dress, Markle's transparent-looking dress sparked a heated reaction among critics. Many traditionalists criticized Markle's sheer outfit, with some accusing her of not wearing underwear.

"Is she actually wearing a see through top in a royal photograph? What on earth is going on at the palace that this is being allowed!?? Has the Queen lost her mind?? Is Harry blackmailing everyone?" one critic wrote.

6 /10: Wearing Ripped Jeans

6/10 :Wearing Ripped Jeans

Markle sparked a heated internet debate when she wore ripped jeans at Toronto's Invictus Games in September. The actor caught the attention of critics when she paired an untucked white shirt with jeans ripped at the hem and knees. Many traditionalists compared Markle to Kate Middleton, who rarely wears jeans, and if she does, they're never ripped.

According to royal etiquette expert Diana Mather, jeans are considered very casual, which is why you'll rarely see royals wearing them.

"Many places will not allow jeans as they are still seen as very casual wear, so it is better to play safe for both sexes," Mather told BBC. "But if the duchess is outside walking the dogs for example, then jeans are fine."

7 /10: Her All-Diamond Engagement Ring

7/10 :Her All-Diamond Engagement Ring

Markle's all-diamond engagement ring might make us drool with envy, but it's actually a tradition-breaker. For the past few generations, royal women have favored gemstone engagement rings over pure diamonds.

Princess Diana, Kate Middleton (who has Diana's ring), the Queen Mother and Princess Anne boasted engagement rings with sapphires, while Princess Margaret's featured a ruby.

8 /10: Wearing Non-British Brands

8/10 :Wearing Non-British Brands

Traditionally, the royal family is expected to wear only British designers and brands, such as Burberry and Alexander McQueen. This is why it was such a big deal when Markle showed up at her official engagement announcement in a knee-length white trench coat by the Canadian brand Line the Label.

Markle, who is American but spent several years in Toronto shooting her show, Suits, paid tribute to Canada again when she wore a collared camel coat by the Canadian brand Smythe in January 2018.

9 /10: Wearing Lip Gloss

9/10 :Wearing Lip Gloss

For the same reason as avoiding contoured cheeks, royal women are discouraged from wearing lip gloss according to Harper's Bazaar. The stickiness — which as many know can often lead to hair sticking to your lips — is something royal women want to avoid. So it surprised many when Markle showed up to a Christmas lunch hosted by Queen Elizabeth in December 2017 with a lip-glossed pout.

10 /10: Wearing Mismatched Earrings

10/10 :Wearing Mismatched Earrings

Mismatched earrings are still somewhat taboo in the regular world — let alone in the royal family. Markle turned heads when she wore two different earrings — one with three tiny stars and another shaped like a V — at an official engagement in Wales in January 2018.