Meghan Markle’s fashion nods to her mother-in-law, the late Princess Diana, have found a fanbase among the American public, according to exclusive polling undertaken for Newsweek.
For several high-profile events and engagements both as a working royal between 2018 and 2020 and in her life as an entertainment professional in California, Meghan referenced some of Diana’s iconic looks.
Though these style choices are often quickly identified and commented on by royal watchers, the duchess has not always met a warm reception when debuting these fashion choices, often finding herself accused by critics of attempting to align herself too closely with her husband’s late mother.
New polling undertaken for Newsweek by Redfield & Wilton Strategies though, shows that the duchess’ style tributes are supported by the majority of Americans.
Of a representative sample of 634 U.S. voters surveyed on May 31, 60 percent of respondents said they either “strongly approve” or “approve” of Meghan wearing dresses “that copy the style of Princess Diana.”
This was against 8 percent who responded that they “disapprove” or “strongly disapprove,” 23 percent who said “neither” and 9 percent who said they either “don’t know” or “don’t care.”
Similar results were also received when asked about Kate Middleton‘s own style tributes to the late princess, which she has made throughout her own marriage.
Princess Diana remains hugely popular in the U.S. with her dresses or items of jewelry commanding huge prices at auction. In January 2023, Kim Kardashian paid $197,452 at Sotheby’s auction house for a diamond and amethyst pendant necklace worn by the princess in the 1980s.
On Diana’s style legacy and Meghan’s tributes, celebrity stylist and royal fashion expert, Miranda Holder, said there was a natural symmetry between the two.
“Princess Diana will always be the ultimate royal fashion icon,” Holder told Newsweek. “Immortalized forever in the history books following her tragic death, she won hearts and minds with her brave spirit and touching dedication to so many worthy causes, always looking fabulous whilst doing so. It goes without saying that she is sorely missed by so many—worldwide but particularly the U.S.
“Diana’s approach to the royal wardrobe was groundbreaking,” she continued. “The world may have lost a style icon but she is most definitely not forgotten. It’s wonderful to see her influence on both the firm [royal family] and on fashion celebrated by other royals such as Meghan. Tributes are regularly paid to Diana by Meghan and Kate [Middleton] with stylistic nods in their own outfits. We love to see Diana’s spirit, and everything she stood for, live on.”
One of Meghan’s earliest style echoes of Diana was made for Trooping the Colour in 2018, where she wore a pale pink off-the-shoulder ensemble designed by Venezuelan-American designer, Carolina Herrera. The silhouette of the look was similar to a Catherine Walker ball gown worn by Diana a number of times in the 1980s.
“It was a key moment in Meghan’s royal career,” Holder noted. “And channeling her late mother-in-law was not only the perfect political move, but the outfit suited Meghan’s frame perfectly and I adored the blush pink against her ‘winter’ complexion.”
Another key look was debuted on Commonwealth Day in 2019, when a pregnant Meghan paid tribute to one of Diana’s own maternity outfits worn in 1982 while expecting Prince William.
Meghan’s couture Erdem look featured a tweed green coat and matching dress with intricate black embellishments on the coat lapel. “The synchronicity here was just perfect, and I love how Meghan’s look is so faithful to Diana’s original yet whilst still feeling modern and fresh,” Holder explained.
All in all, Meghan and Diana have two different signatures styles but these blend successfully at certain largescale events.
“At their essence Meghan and Diana have two very different style personalities. Meghan looks her best in easy breezy natural style, barely there makeup and a more casual wardrobe vocabulary, whereas Diana loved to make an impact with dramatic and seductive silhouettes,” said Holder.
“That said, both women have led similar royal lives at some point and had to (more or less) abide by the somewhat restrictive style etiquette.”
In addition to clothing worn with similarities to Diana, Meghan wears an item of jewelry closely associated with her each day, her engagement ring.
In 2017, Prince Harry had a specially designed ring for Meghan made using diamonds from Diana’s personal collection. Speaking about the ring in her engagement interview, Meghan said: “Not being able to meet his [Harry’s] mom it’s so important to me to—to know that she’s a part of this with us.”
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