Meghan and Kate have access to the literal crown jewels, but they don’t get to wear them often.
The Duchess of Sussex and the Duchess of Cambridge are always dressed to impress, but what they can and can’t wear is so complex, royal etiquette expert Myka Meier says they each have a “team of aides” to help them dress. This is a short list of what Meghan and Kate need to wear when they’re on the job:
- Pantyhose are non-negotiable - Queen Elizabeth is a stickler about women within the palace wearing hose while working. This style protocol tradition may be uncomfortable, but it’s not going away for the royal ladies.
- Keep your coat on - Ever notice how often we see Kate Middleton wearing dress-coat hybrids? That may be because while she’s working, she’s not allowed to remove the outer layer of her outfit, whether it’s a blazer or jacket. Meier explains, “Working royals are taught not to disrobe in the public eye.”
- Put your toes away - We always see the Duchesses wearing heels, but during the day, they’re always closed-toe shoes. The only time we get a glimpse of their royal toes is in open toe shoes at some red carpet events.
- Daytime diamond ban - Aside from marital or religious jewelry, we probably won’t see a royal wearing diamonds while working. “Other jewels are worn pre-6pm,” Meier explains. “Before 6pm, you’ll see metallics, gemstones, pearls, sapphires. At night, you’ll see the diamonds come out, and that’s in order to not come across as flashy in your appearance.”
- No freebies - While Meghan might have enjoyed gifts of fabulous things to wear in her old life, she can’t take handouts anymore. No free wardrobe pieces for the royals, they have to buy it all.
- Shoulders covered and no cleavage - At formal events, shoulders are covered and no one shows any cleavage, especially during the day.
- Conservative hemlines and “functional” slits only - For daytime engagements, royal women are expected to maintain modest hemlines with no big slits in skirts, just small ones that help them walk.