Tour Updates & Trooping the Colour Outfit Recap

We are back covering a number of topics today.

We begin with confirmation of an autumn tour for the Duke and Duchess. Sunday Kensington Palace tweeted the following:

As noted in the tweet, the tour will be on dates coinciding with the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney. The Games run from October 20 – October 27; our guess is the tour will follow the games. It is not expected that Harry & Meghan will attend all seven days of the Games. There is a little more on timing in this story from the Fiji Times:

While the exact date is yet to be announced, their visit to Fiji will be after their Australian tour to be part of the Invictus Sydney games scheduled for October 20 to October 27 this year.

The couple is set to be in Fiji after their Australian tour and will head to Tonga and New Zealand thereafter.

Below, Harry in Toronto at last year’s Games.

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In travel news a little closer to home, this story in The Independent reports the Duke and Duchess will be visiting the Republic of Ireland in July.

PRINCE Harry and his wife Meghan Markle are expected to visit Ireland in the middle of next month – very likely around Friday, July 13.

Sources say they are likely to take part in a series of engagements over the course of two days.

The story notes Prince Harry has never visited the country before and points out that Meghan attended the One Young World summit in 2014 in Dublin when she was an ambassador for the organization. Here you see Meghan at that event.

We’ll keep you updated on any announcements about the July visit to Dublin. You can read the entire story in The Independent by clicking here.

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And now a bit more about Meghan’s Trooping the Colour ensemble.
We ran out of time Saturday to do our normal coverage of Meghan’s outfit, its design elements and possible inspiration. In case anyone did not see the updated version of the post, Meghan was wearing separates by Carolina Herrera, not a dress.
The top had elements common on Herrera designs, including oversize buttons and an asymmetric closure. You can see some of these characteristics in two designs from the 2018 Pre-Fall collection (left & center); the white/floral dress also features oversized buttons at the waist. On the right, a piece from the Fall 2018 collection with a neckline slightly similar to Meghan’s.
A Twitter account following Spain’s Queen Letizia noticed a similarity between Meghan’s ensemble and a Carolina Herrera design worn by Infanta Sofia in January.
@LetiziadePaR Twitter (click image to go to Twitter feed)
As far as we know the skirt is a standard pencil silhouette, a style we know is flattering on the Duchess.
In many quarters the primary point of discussion involving Meghan’s outfit was its off-the-shoulder design. More from Bethan Holt’s column for The Telegraph:
….the duchess appeared at her first Trooping the Colour on Saturday in a look which confirmed that her royal look, in case we were in any doubt, will be compiled on her own terms. Her’s is a 21st century take on elegance which looks as pristine as is expected in her new royal role, but which also pushes some of the unspoken rules of the regal dress code.
Back to The Telegraph column:
Most notable is how Meghan’s pale pink top dips off her shoulders in an exaggerated version of the bateau neckline which Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller used to timelessly sophisticated effect on her bridal gown. The cut looks chic but reveals more decolletage than the Buckingham Palace balcony has likely ever seen.
There wasn’t significant disagreement on whether Meghan looked nice, most thought she looked simply lovely. The point of discussion was the cut of the top and its off-the-shoulder design. There were two primary themes seen in comments here and elsewhere online:
  1. The top was too revealing for this function. The outfit was inappropriate for a military parade honoring the Queen’s birthday. Some said wearing the style was disrespectful.
  2. The top was not too revealing. People/the Royal Family need to take a more modern view; there’s nothing wrong with showing one’s shoulders at an engagement like Saturday’s.
Facebook follower Betty Wales suggested we take a look at what Sophie, Countess of Wessex wore in 2011 for Trooping the Colour.
As you can see, Sophie’s dress wasn’t quite as revealing as Meghan’s, but it certainly showed some décolletage.

More about the design from fashion writers Tom & Lorenzo’s story:

…there were a few grumblings about her baring her shoulders and upper arms for an official day event. Sources vary on whether that’s a no-no, but once again we are struck by the similarities in the way her every fashion move is critiqued on the grounds of propriety and the way people reacted to Michelle Obama when she became first lady. We are STILL talking about women’s arms as if they were scandalous.
Susan Courter’s first reaction was that the outfit was fabulous.
I didn’t see anything wrong with Meghan’s outfit upon seeing those first images. I thought she looked amazing and appropriate for the event. I didn’t give it much thought about the collar-line until several images came up and finally the balcony appearance. The only thing I think may have been off with the neckline was that the piece had slipped a bit off her shoulder and it probably could’ve been adjusted so as to sit more up over the shoulder slightly. Perhaps some slight alterations to adjust this would’ve helped. My guess is that these outfits were purchased well before the wedding and the fit changed a bit after the fact.”
Susan Kelley’s reaction was that Meghan looked simply stunning.
It was a classic, timeless look that was absolutely beautiful on the Duchess. I don’t agree with those suggesting Meghan was trying to draw attention to herself or be disrespectful. She has clearly demonstrated her respect for HM and the Monarchy.
In her comment, ElizaMo makes a strong point about context: for many, what members of the Royal Family wear conveys more than a fashion statement. Do I think it would have been better if the top covered her shoulders? Yes, for a couple of reasons. As mentioned, I doubt she wanted any extra attention focused on what she wore, she would prefer it be directed toward the Queen and military personnel being recognized. The other is that covered shoulders strike me as slightly more appropriate for this specific event. But that is my taste, not Meghan’s.
Do I think this was a horrible misstep or faux pas? No. I do think we will see Meghan with just a skosh more fabric over her shoulders/upper arms next year. But if we don’t it isn’t an enormous scandal or symptomatic of some greater issue in my eyes. What Meghan wears is entirely her choice.
Both Susans have been asked if Meghan is getting wardrobe input from a senior member of the royal household. Published reports say the Duchess was receiving some guidance from Samatha Cohen, previously a senior aide to the Queen, before the wedding. That assistance will now be full time, although Ms. Cohen’s insight and input will cover much broader topics than wardrobe or protocol.
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The topic of Meghan’s Saturday look dovetails perfectly with a quick note about comments. We experienced a problem with the comment approval software. It is always set to “comments must be approved manually,” meaning we have to physically click on the words “approve comment” before a comment is published. This weekend the program ‘hiccuped,’ and all comments were published, including several that should never have seen the light of day. We apologize to those who were subjected to the inappropriate comments. (A reminder to anyone who may be a new visitor that our comment policy may be read here.)

We *hope* to see you tomorrow when Meghan joins HM as they board the royal train for the journey to Cheshire!
UPDATE Wednesday Night 6pm: Multiple reports say they are spending the night on the train, but we’ve not seen any photos of them boarding. So it looks like we’ll have to wait until tomorrow for photos from their engagements.

26 Comments

  1. Jessica June 12, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    It’s interesting. I actually find Sophie’s 2011 outfit much *more* revealing than Meghan’s. I think exposed cleavage is much racier than exposed arms. That’s what I’d consider decolletage, not Meghan’s look, which did not have a hint of cleavage.

    1. Maureen June 12, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      I totally agree, Jessica!

    2. Bonnie June 12, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      You are correct Jessica, Sophie’s 2011 outfit was more revealing than Meghan’s. However, two wrongs don’t make a right. I have no recall if Sophie received any criticism for her 2011 look. Personally, I think Meghan should have gone for a more conservative look. After all, this was a military event that honoured the Queen. When Sophie wore her dress, she was already well accepted as a member of the Royal Family. Meghan being the “new kid on the block” could be being “picked on”. I think to ensure a smooth transition from private life into the life of a royal, Meghan would do best to play it safe. There is plenty of time down the road to push the envelope and be fashion forward. For now, Meghan, don’t wear clothing that causes controversy and draws attention, that is not the kind of attention you want or deserve.

      1. Carrow June 14, 2018 at 1:01 am

        To make excuses for Sophie, while basically condemning Meghan for nearly the same style choice is quite ironic and hypocritical. Your excuse for Sophie, is that she’s been in the royal family longer…but wouldn’t it make more sense to allow Meghan the same space for trial and error that you’ve given to Sophie? Seeing as how Meghan’s been in the royal family for mere months (although your shoulders shouldn’t be considered an error in 2018).

        People keep trying to fit Meghan into the same box as Kate, but she’s her own person who happens to be married to one of the most unconventional Royals since Diana.

    3. Mary Ann June 12, 2018 at 9:11 pm

      I agree Jessica. Sophie’s was quite lowcut.

    4. Becky June 13, 2018 at 11:27 am

      Yes, her outfit is actually lower cut with that deep V, even though more of Meghan’s shoulders and arms are exposed.

  2. Ellis June 12, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    I was one of the commenters arguing on Saturday that Meghan’s outfit likely had approval from people familiar with royal protocol, and I’ve been doing some research on royal style “rules” since then. One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that there are a few pictures of Queen Elizabeth in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s wearing sleeveless sheath dresses to official engagements, and an image of Princess Margaret at Trooping the Color in the 1960s wearing a nearly-sleeveless dress. The Queen also appears to have given her 1960 Christmas address in an off-the-shoulder dress. While there are obviously far different standards for evening, The Queen almost exclusively wore sleeveless and strapless evening gowns when she was younger (well into her reign) and into her 40s and 50s. Many of her official portraits have been in evening gowns that are strapless or off the shoulder and occasionally show a little bit of cleavage. I even found a picture from 1950 (albeit in the evening) of the Queen Mum wearing an off-the-shoulder gown that has a much, much lower neckline than we would generally expect from modern royals.

    With that in mind, I’m curious how accurate the idea that shoulders are completely off limits for royal women is. I’m curious if part of the perception of Meghan is due to the fact that Kate dresses exceptionally modestly–often even more so than the Queen did at Kate’s age. I’m a little torn on Meghan’s Trooping the Color dress/top/jacket, but I’m definitely wondering if the “rules” are actually as strict as we tend to think they are.

    1. Jill Bray June 12, 2018 at 6:30 pm

      Very interesting. Thanks for sharing, Ellis.

    2. ElizaMo June 13, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Wonderful research, Ellis! So interesting. Of course there are no hard and fast rules and I’m often impressed at how low royal necklines used to go back in the 50s. I myself don’t find sleeveless as objectionable as some and may have just been temporarily thrown by Meghan’s very charming Bardot top at the Trooping ceremony. It’s a process of adjustment to a new face in the line up, perhaps.

    3. Becky June 13, 2018 at 11:31 am

      @Ellis agreed. the queen dresses very conservatively NOW but she is in her 90s. It makes sense that she dresses differently than she did when she was in her 30s and it makes sense that her mid-30s granddaughters-in-law are going to dress differently than she does now.

      I echoed your comments in another post – Kate dresses conservatively, overall. I think people have assumed that Kate “has” to dress conservatively, but my guess its more a matter of that is just what she likes and what she prefers to wear for official functions. So we will likely see some different looks from Meghan, and neither woman is wrong.

    4. Jessica June 14, 2018 at 10:14 am

      @Ellis excellent comment. I too have looked back at some fashion choices worn by the Queen in her younger days. It is interesting to note she wore a lot of off the shoulder looks granted they were in the evening but they exposed a lot more skin then what Meghan wore. I think you also have made an interesting point that perhaps we are comparing her to what Catherine wears because for the most part Catherine wears very modest choices. And I too am wondering how accurate the rule of no shoulders showing for an event like Trooping the Color is. Ascot has a dress code and has a mention of straps and how wide they should be. I think this is all very interesting and the conversation has intrigued me. I honestly think that if the Queen had a problem with her outfit it would not have been worn. However, there are rumors that the Queen does not approve of wedges but Catherine still wears them. If you look at recent pictures of Princess Eugenie her dresses tend to fall above the knee which according to what I have read is not acceptable. Gloves are also mentioned in the royal dress code and no royal woman except the Queen wears gloves on a regular basis. So things change, the royal dress code can evolve. As do royal decrees of succession and now a Prince can marry an American divorcee. Families evolve. Maybe the Queen is becoming more lax in her golden years. Meghan is more aware of the rules than we are. She is new to the family so I feel like she wouldn’t be pushing the fashion envelope so early on because I am sure she wants to make a good impression. Think of the pressure. And based on the pictures coming in from the away day in Cheshire the Queen and Meghan get along and there doesn’t appear to be any respect lost there.

  3. Lacey June 12, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    I love that Carolina Herrera ballgown from the Fall 2018 collection. I think Herrera ballgowns are always so gorgeous and I would love to see Meghan (or Kate or the York sisters) in a Herrera ballgown sometime in the future when the occasion arises!

  4. Lee June 12, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    I thought she looked perfectly lovely and appropriate, although I personally dislike the large fabric buttons on the top. I think it takes some time for all new royals to navigate the fashion obstacle course, anyway. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Meghan’s style, since I think she doesn’t have to be as rigidly adherent to very conservative fashions, as Catherine may have to as future queen.

  5. Lisa June 13, 2018 at 5:27 am

    I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone, but I do have to say that I was extremely surprised to see so many negative comments about this stunning outfit. We live in the twenty-first century, and women fought so hard for their rights. It seems bizarre that such a lovely and definitely royal outfit should warrant disapproval. Some said Meghan looked like an actress, which I totally disagree upon. She dressed differently, wore bolder make up and behaved in an entirely different fashion before she stepped into the role. I guess we’re too used to Kate’s extremely conservative dress choices and that’s what skews judgement. Yes, the event honored the queen, but no one can upstage the queen. It’s just impossible. I think Meghan has a right to and should look lovely, in accordance to her age and flattering physique. I, for one, thought that she looked the loveliest of all present. And seeing her giggle with Harry was just too cute. I do hope she continues to look royal and modern at the same time in the future.

    1. Amelie June 13, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      I was going to say unless you were Bjork wearing her swan dress or J Lo wearing the infamous low cut plunging Versace she wore to the Grammys in 2000, not much can distract from the Queen herself. People are acting as if Meghan wore something akin to the swan/Versace dress which has been very puzzling for me.

    2. Lauri June 14, 2018 at 9:36 am

      I agree Lisa, we are so used to thinking that how Kate dresses is the way all young Duchesses should dress without realizing that Kate’s wearing what she wants and how she thinks a Duchess should dress.

    3. Jessica June 14, 2018 at 10:25 am

      So true Lisa! I agree completely. She certainly did not look like any Hollywood actress I have ever seen. Her dress was not inappropriate at all. People will be critical of what she wears no matter what. If she dressed like Catherine exactly people would call her a copy cat, a repliKate if you will. Let Meghan find her own way as a new Duchess. I think she is carrying herself with such grace and her happiness is so beautiful. She is so eloquent when she speaks and she holds herself with dignity. I believe she has so much to offer the royal family. I love following both Catherine and Meghan, they each bring their unique, lovely personalities wherever they go. Both are such great role models!

  6. ElizaMo June 13, 2018 at 8:12 am

    Such exciting news about the autumn tour, it’s going to be a huge treat and a major opportunity for Meghan to establish her place as a truly royal – and British — duchess.

    Thank you for the affirmation of the comments policy and for all the hard work you put into keeping this blog a safe space for us all. With the amount of appearances we have at the moment with a new duchess on the scene it is hardly surprising to hear that the puter decided to have a hiccup.

    I really appreciate the comments both Susans make. I certainly agree that this was one delightful outfit and that it in no way counts as a major mis-step on Meghan’s part. I think we are all having to adjust to a fresh face and approach on royal outings. I think Susan Courter hits the nail on the head when she points out that just a minor alteration could have lifted the neckline a fraction closer to modesty.

    Tomorrow is going to be exciting – such an historic moment when the most revered royal on the planet introduces the newest and mixed race family member to the world. I think they will make a great team and that we will see more of a polished and thoughtful new duchess

  7. LadyLeah June 13, 2018 at 9:39 am

    I am enjoying this discussion.
    I give Meghan a lot of credit for navigating this tricky balance of protocol, personal style, the public’s ever-changing idealized vision of what she should wear. Tights at the garden party were ridiculed, people lament her loss of personal freedom. She’s a grown woman who chose to marry into this family and this role and I think most of us agree she is doing a magnificent job at all of it.
    I appreciate her quiet grace and confidence – at even a presumed mis-step. She is figuring it out in a new job, new country, as a new wife and in the glaring public scrutiny. I am cheering on this thoroughly modern duchess.

  8. Maryam June 13, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Thanks as always for your refreshing comment policy! With so much vitriol elsewhere on the internet, I always find it so refreshing to come here and read the comments! I am a longtime WKW reader and I was taken aback by some of the harsher comments I saw Saturday. I wasn’t sure if WMW was going to have a different standard than WKW, but I’m so pleased and relieved to know it was just a hiccup!

    I didn’t think the bare arms/shoulders were neccessarily inappropriate. I’m sure palace officials vetted the outfit ahead of time and would have required a change if it was. I do think perhaps it was unfortunate for Meghan that all the other ladies visible on the balcony wore significantly more conservative sleeves and she therefore stuck out quite a bit. I think if she had realized that and the subsequent attention it would draw, she may have chosen differently. But I didn’t find it inappropriate or disrespectful.
    I was saddened by the lack of embellishment on her hat! At first I liked the style, but after seeing the designer styling with the flowers on the previous post, I believe it would have looked very much more outstanding! Here’s to hoping she becomes bolder with the hats!

  9. Jessica June 13, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    I also wanted to add that the Infanta Sofia’s look is adorable! She and her sister are the sweetest.

  10. Mallory June 13, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Meghan looks lovely, as always. However, though I agree with those who thought the bare shoulders inappropriate for the occasion, I continue to be amazed by how well she is integrating her well-developed style into the royal look: she has been a member of the Royal Family for less than a month and participating in their life for only 6 or 7 months and manages for the most part to look stunningly appropriate–witness the recent garden party for Prince Charles or her Christmas Day ensemble last year.
    Like Maryam, I wish Meghan had kept the flowers on the hat.

  11. Johanna June 13, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    I am following this discussion wit great interest. Perhaps this part of an interview (at 1:27) with Autumn Phillips gives us a little more insight into the process of entering the Royal Family as a new family member.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHX8qxQfo_I
    Thank you to both Susans for your wonderful work and dedication!

  12. Carrow June 14, 2018 at 12:30 am

    I’m sorry did you say Sophie’s wasn’t quite as revealing? You could see the tops of the Countess’ cleavage that neckline plunged so low. Meghan’d is not nearly as revealing. Wow.

  13. Karen June 14, 2018 at 6:13 am

    When will the Brits realise just how powerful Meghan and Kate are in changing the perception of the Royal family across the world. M looked amazing and I am quite amused as to think that showing shoulders and arms are quite scandalous according to some.

  14. Sara June 15, 2018 at 10:04 am

    I don’t believe shoulders are a scandalous thing to display (there’s no cleavage here at all! Just shoulders). It’s a gorgeous look and very appropriate. She is not trying to look sexy, but is beautiful, elegant and very fashionable. Love it!!!

    Even in Victorian times (1850s/60s) some of Queen Victoria’s own day dresses were very wide boatneck or off the shoulder, exposing just as much skin and perched at the extreme edge of the shoulders. As others said, over the years the Queen and other family members have, too. There’s just no need for this extreme conservatism in dress – and I don’t believe the Queen actually demands that. She probably loved Meghan’s outfit.

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