For just three days, Meghan Markle wore a tantalizing amount of designer clothes.
As far as smooth signals go, it’s pretty blunt.
When Meghan Markle, suit the star, Toronto resident and bona fide royal girlfriend made her public debut with her other half title Prince Harry at the 2017 Invictus Games, she appeared wearing a crisp white shirt, a style aptly called ‘The Husband’ shirt.
The writing is on the wall. It was clear that it was time to open the royal chapel, clean up the Archbishop of Canterbury and dig up the keys to the tiara vault as the Windsor wedding was just around the corner. (Does the Queen have any hope of training a dorgi to be a ring bearer? I can’t comment.)
Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about that shirt. Meghan’s entire ensemble in 2017, when she happily watched a wheelchair tennis match with Harry, was absolutely flawless and flawless. It is sophisticated, chic and very understated.
It’s also relatively affordable. The shirt costs $250 and in fact the entire look, including the super-smart leather shoes and bag, will set a shopper back at $1472.
The contrast between his first Invictus appearance and his turn at this weekend’s Invictus Games The Hague was stark.
Over the three days, the Duchess of Sussex is now wearing at least $69,000 worth of new clothes and jewelry, including one piece that costs an estimated $19,035 excluding her jewelry.
The only word that comes to mind here is, ‘yuck’. There’s flashy consumption and there’s a retail binge that will make even the blackest black American Express card creak and warp.
Imelda Marcos, have a seat.
Sure, Meghan is a member of the British royal family and half of the deal-making duo that will reportedly pull in over $200 million in the coming years thanks largely to Netflix and Spotify. All that meant, if he wanted to walk around the place in designer clothes that cost about the same as a small car, that was completely his prerogative.
But we’re not talking about what she might choose to wear to visit the family’s state-of-the-art country chicken coop or when she contemplates a synergistic pathway that makes a difference with Team Sussex’s entourage of upscale employees.
The Invictus Games are for injured, injured and sick armed forces personnel who are still on duty or veterans.
Last year, Mirror in the UK reports: “Thousands of veterans are struggling to get government payments for injuries caused in service, with some facing poverty and committing suicide because of the problem.”
Likewise, in December last year SSAFA, the British Armed Forces charity, launched a campaign to raise awareness about the “worrying and increasing number in the armed forces community. [who] experiencing financial hardship and food poverty”.
But on Friday, to attend a welcoming ceremony at the US Embassy in The Hague, the Duchess wore a white $7211 Valentino suit with a $4626 Valentino bag. She also brought a stunning camel coat that she lent to a competitor to keep the baby warm (I know, so pretty, right?)
That’s a $19,035 display if you play together at home, which is more than half of the estimated $36,775 pension British private retirees will receive each year.
The second day of the Olympics saw the 40-year-old’s appearance come out three.
For a reception at the British embassy to welcome the British team, Meghan wore the same expensive Ralph Lauren coat with matching camel skivvy, trousers and a handbag.
Some of Meghan’s fashion watchers (yes they exist and yes some of them even do it for a living – great time to live) have suggested her pants are also Ralph Lauren for $1346 and the bag is Carolina Herrera number for $2040.
But who only wears one look per day? He then traded his belongings for a Celine jacket for $5916, a $3810 bag also from the French brand along with $476 jeans and sunglasses from cool brand Linda Farrow which retailed for $1441.
Come the night and you guessed it, change clothes! For the official opening ceremony of the Olympics, the mother-of-two wore a Khaite bodysuit ($1061), black pants of unknown origin, $1217 Manolo Blahnik heels and a $20,682 Cartier gold necklace.
For her third day, she was back in three outfits, including a $2986 Brandon Maxwell jeans and jacket, an $884 blazer and blue shirt, and finally an $8164 Valentino dress.
Anyone else dizzy? Anyone else feeling a little nauseous from having so much money thrown around?
(That said, while strict rules dictate that working members of the royal family can’t receive freebies, these days Meghan can, if she so chooses, take all the sponge-con she wants.)
What I want to know is, what is Meghan trying to prove?
We know she’s rich, incredibly stylish and could make every fashion house in the world call three times, salivating at the opportunity to create a piece specifically for her.
But why turn an event meant to celebrate the strength and passion of the men and women who have given so much for their country into a one-woman catwalk?
(What’s also interesting is that if you look at most of the photos from the three days the Duchess of Sussex was at the Olympics, as she roamed around in what looked like half of Harvey Nichols’ stock, the rest of the participants were nearly uniform in jeans, T-shirts or tracksuits. )
Meghan already has an amazing – and huge – wardrobe. How strong and smart would it be for him to just put the pieces back together and reassemble them? It will only strengthen his style credentials and it will ensure that the focus remains relentless on the athletes and the Olympics.
Is it a coincidence that a crew of 30 reported from Netflix capturing every hug, smile, and touching moment from the Sussexes?
This trip bears a strong resemblance to the Duke and Duchess’ trip to New York in September last year when Meghan wore expensive, expensive outfits. That Daily mailat the time, claimed that the TV cameras were also following the two as they rolled around town in a fleet of large black SUVs holding a Very Important Meeting.
Hiss. I miss Meghan’s Husband Outfit. I miss the woman who so majestic and effortlessly showed the world that truly great style doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I miss the woman who had the confidence to start her royal life wearing ripped jeans.
In 2023, the Invictus Games will be held in Germany. I’m still hoping that Meghan’s Husband Shirt might come back again. Either that, or they might need a raise from Netflix.
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years of experience working with some of Australia’s leading media titles.