Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex’s explosive entry into the royal family was met with a media frenzy for all the wrong reasons: she was American, biracial, a Hollywood actress, the tabloids very much wanted us to know. But one thing swiftly became apparent in photographic coverage of the Duchess: the woman can dress. While UK media outlets focused on highlighting all the ways in which they felt Meghan deviated from the royal norm, US media outlets fell in love with her style, a mix of classic preppy pieces and elegant high-glamour gowns that drew comparisons to both Princess Diana and Jackie Kennedy over the course of her royal tenure. Now peacefully retired to California with husband “Just Harry” and kids Archie and Lilibet Diana, we’re no longer treated to front-row photos of Meghan’s latest looks while on royal duty — a sacrifice we’re more than happy to make, by the way, in exchange for her newfound freedom. But as the Duchess celebrates her 40th birthday back in her home country, we can’t help but be nostalgic for the parade of royal fashion we once feasted on the morning after every royal outing from 2018 to February 2020. Actually: Let’s talk about February 2020.
For her final week of royal engagements in February 2020, Meghan brought it, fashion-wise, in such dizzying succession that all we could do was stare in amazement. First, her teal Victoria Beckham dress captured under an umbrella with Harry, the now-famous illuminated photo of the soon-to-be-departing couple at the Endeavor Fund Awards. Next, her striking red Safiyaa cape dress, worn to the Mountbatten Music Festival and matching Harry’s Royal Marines uniform. Then, the emerald green Wickstead cape dress with a matching fascinator worn to the Commonwealth Day Service, in which Meghan was photographed hundreds of times over smiling, catching the camera’s eye, and looking like she knows exactly what she’s doing.