Meghan in Marks & Spencer, Stella McCartney for Festival of Remembrance UPDATED

For tonight’s Festival of Remembrance at Royal Albert Hall Meghan repeated her Stella McCartney coat.  NOTE: Scroll down for updated info on Meghan’s dress. 

This was the Duchess’s first time attending the event, an important date on the royal calendar. Below, the Royal Box as the Queen and others take their seats.

More about the event via the Royal Albert Hall website:

The Festival of Remembrance, held in honour of those who have given their lives in the service of their country, has been marked at the Royal Albert Hall annually since 1923.

It was not until 1971 that the British Legion were permitted to use the prefix ‘royal’, following a Royal Charter bestowed to the organisation on 29 May 1971. The festival was promptly renamed Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance, which it has proudly held every year since.

Although the festival was originally only intended to honour those who died in the First World War, it now includes tributes to the war dead from more recent conflicts.

Tonight’s program is particularly special as it commemorates 100 Years since the end of WWI.

Before his performance Sir Tom Jones spent time with several veterans. From left to right: Robert Cox, Alan Lacy, Sheila Campbell, Bessie Thomas.

The program opened with the Chelsea Pensioners .

Followed by family members who lost a relative in military service. The families were led by Des and Maureen Feely; they lost their 26-year-old daughter, Corporal Sarah Bryant, in Afghanistan in 2008.

The program featured a World War I themed tri-service display featuring Royal British Legion standards representing the branches from across the UK.

There was also tribute to the 100th birthday of the Royal Air Force.

HM and Prince Charles enjoying parts of the performance.

Below Sir Tom performs Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer with the Royal Air Force Squadronaires as they pay tribute to aviation.

The evening included a performance by the Kingdom Choir, who performed at Harry and Meghan’s wedding.

More from The Express:

During the event at the Royal Albert Hall, the couple, who will welcome their first child in spring, listened intently to the voices of the Kingdom Choir, who sang Stand By Me at their wedding in May. Dressed in black the group showed off their amazing vocals, which bounded off the walls of the historic venue.

Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason performed Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” He also played at the May wedding.

The service draws toward a close as The Last Post is played.

Poppies rain down throughout Royal Albert Hall.

As two minutes of silence is observed.

The National Anthem is sung and then active military personnel giving three cheers for the Queen.

And the Festival concludes.

Now for our look at what Meghan wore this evening, as trivial as it seems in comparison to the night’s events.

UPDATE 15 NOV: Elizabeth of Meghan’s Fashion did some amazing detective and discovered the Duchess was in a dress by Marks and Spencer. Meghan wore the retailer’s Double Crepe Bodycon Dress.   The dress fabric is a poly/viscose blend with a healthy dose of Elastane, which provides the stretch and give in the material, not only making it fit properly, but also making it more comfortable. It features the broad vee-neckline front and back, off-the-shoulder styling, and a back zipper, and the dress is fully lined. (It is also machine washable.) Hello! has reaction from the retailer about the news the Duchess wore their frock:

Hello! spoke to a spokesperson at M&S who said: “We thought Meghan looked beautiful in our M&S Collection dress. We are absolutely delighted she is a fan of M&S and the British high street.”

The dress also comes in a festive red that would be fantastic for holiday parties.

Many will recall this isn’t the first time Meghan has been in Marks & Spencer styles. She wore a sweater by the retailer for an engagement last January, a hat by M&S to the Celia McCorquodale wedding, and the brand’s gloves at Christmas. (The gloves are now back in stock!) 

Meghan also wore her Stella McCartney black tie-front coat, $1940, a piece we saw earlier this year while she and Harry made their visit to Cardiff, UK.

She also wore her Manolo Blahnik ‘BB’ 105 pumps in black, $625.

Meghan brought back her Stella McCartney Shaggy Dear Faux Leather Crossbody ($875).

It looks like the Duchess was wearing a new pair of earrings this evening.

They appear to be a “crawler style” with stones set in silver or white gold. The stones appear to vary in size with a larger stone starting on one end and smaller at the other. We will update the post once we learn more information about the identity of these earrings.

Meghan wore two poppy pins or brooches last night, one on her coat and one on her dress. These are the best photos we have showing both poppies.

Below left, the poppy on her coat. We are not sure where this one came from. Susan C. found the poppy pin on the right over on Etsy. It was not found on either the UK or US poppy sites for purchase.

Below showing placement of the poppy on her dress.

We will see you for the Remembrance Sunday service at The Cenotaph. Here is the timing information for those events. 

We’ll leave you with this 1-minute video from the Royal British Legion titled Thank You 100. “We all have so much to thank the WW1 generation for. Their service and sacrifice changed the world we live in today.”

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  1. I appreciate Meghan for still being herself and not changing to conform fully to royal protocol. Her individuality is what got her there in the first place. The dress looks to be in Ebay in size 10. Would have bought it in an 8! Go Meghan! Thanks for a great site!

  2. Thanks for the update on Meghan’s black dress! That fabric sounds divine, pregnant or not, and I bet Meghan was super comfortable while looking fabulous.

  3. I think Meghan looks perfectly lovely in her dress. Not a fan of the coat, I don’t think I like the shiny looking ties and would prefer the ties to match the fabric of the coat. As for the lack of sleeves, it doesn’t bother me. Meghan’s dress is perfectly demure and appropriate for a remembrance event.

  4. I’ve been traveling, so I’m late to this game, but I wanted to say that I think the DoS looked very nice and very appropriate for this event. Bless a coat that can take you deep into maternity wear–I had a January baby, and I remember that finding a work-appropriate coat was one of the biggest fashion challenges. As for the sleeves, I couldn’t be less bothered–I wouldn’t even have given it a second thought if not for the criticisms in the comments here–and I think her poppies are prominently visible and worn with honor and pride.

  5. OMG I can’t believe the negative comments regarding her lack of sleeves! It’s 2019 folks!!!! It’s also amazing to me how people come up with the so called rules of dressing…SMH. The Queen doesn’t seem to mind the lack of sleeves so why should we?

  6. Love, love the coat! The dress is very nice as well – I am not bother by the sleeve – or lack there of. She has the most beautiful neck lines. However, I do it curious she would choose this event to turn on the Holloywood makeup. It could be just the lighting. As I mentioned on the WKW site, I find the Queen was the real fashion star here!! I thought her black dress with grey wrap and all her accessories were amazing! One of my all time fav. looks of hers.

  7. I must admit I’m not a fan of Meghan’s look. And it’s not about the sleeves, either. Like it was mentioned above, if she was supposed to copy/paste what Kate wears, she would have been told so. I liked the coat the first time it was worn, but it doesn’t quite work now. The overall impression is off to me even though Meghan’s warm personality shines through no matter what she wears.

  8. I suspect if long sleeves were really required she would have been informed. This is not a funeral, but a solemn event, and in a hall, not a church.

    • Good Morning Mary B, I totally agree with your comment. Meghan has a team consulting her making sure that everything she does is correct since she now represents the royal family. If longer sleeves were required she would have been wearing longer sleeves. As you will notice she does have on pantyhose since she is with the Queen.

  9. Meghan looks lovely as always. To the question of why she chose to wear a dress with short-sleeves, it may be due to her pregnancy. My mom tells me that she felt uncomfortably warm throughout most of her pregnancy back when she was expecting me, even in the cooler winter months. She wore sleeveless or short-sleeves as much as possible, too.

    • Say, if the reason for short sleeves was due to body heat, Meghan should have smiled and put up with being hot. Not to get too carried away here, but if the soldiers could put up with what they put up with in the trenches, then a person can be too warm for a few hours

      • Sorry Bonnie, that doesn’t sound very logical. She’s a pregnant woman, carrying a baby and dealing with all the changes – hormonal and physical – that come with that. Mind you, it’s also her first pregnancy. Just the hormonal changes alone, including those leading to higher body temperature, can be highly uncomfortable. Why should she unnecessarily punish herself? Surely, soldiers – past and present – wouldn’t want a pregnant woman to be uncomfortable on their account and for no good reason. Especially when it’s in no way a rule that full sleeves MUST be worn. She’s at a commemoration event – not in battle. So not logical or reasonable at all; sorry to say.

  10. I am from the US and a hot climate but not California. I’m a few years older the the DoS and never would it acure to me to wear a sleeveless dress. It would have been simple for the Dutchess or an aide to look on line to see what was worn in previous years. Or call the DoC and ask. It’s a very high profile event and I would think she would want to be dressed appropriately. On another note, I thought she looked wonderful, hair and makeup looks great and she is certinally glowing.

  11. I think the sleeves are an odd detail to complain about. I think if they had come a detente in July instead of November no one would be complaining (or even thinking about) her sleeve length. She looks great.

  12. just love the coat with sash and the dress is amazing. Having a bit of a chuckle about sleeve, no sleeve and what is the right dress code. Do the royals have one that states…frock must have sleeves if this type of event. Shock, horror, sounds a bit Victorian to me but gave me a good laugh!!

  13. I think Meghan missed the visual point of the poppies. Being American would mean she’d have little experience in wearing the poppy, which is why her staff or maybe the family could’ve provided some guidance with appropriate size, placement, etc.

    Her dress is lovely for an evening at the theatre but perhaps not a war memorial surface. Maybe she’ll notice what the other family members are wearing and dress differently next year.

    • For a bit of context as i understand many followers arent from the UK, the paper poppies and wreaths have always been hand made by disabled veterans since 1922. They are designed to be made with only one hand if need be.
      The pins and brooches are a newer product, probably to keep up with other charity offerings and whilst lovely, the original paper poppies will always have a special place.

    • CECI-

      Americans have experience wearing the crepe paper poppies. I’m sure Meghan would recall the veterans and various organizations with the crepe paper poppies available for donations, usually out in front of banks, post offices, and grocery stores, etc. My husband’s parents were very involved in the American Legion, one of many veterans organizations that make the poppies. My husband keeps one on his desk which I wore on Sunday.

      Another organization here in the US is Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFA). Back in 1923 the VFA started to make “Buddy Poppies” which still exists today. I don’t know if Susan will allow the link, but if not, you can always google “Buddy Poppy” .

      Paper poppies in the States are usually worn on our Memorial Day which is celebrated each May, the day we remember military members who died in service. In November we celebrate Veterans Day, a day we celebrate and thank all veterans who served or are currently serving.

  14. The coat is perfect, the dress however comes off feeling “too cocktail” when the other ladies have sleeves. I can imagine that it is hard to find items to fit at this time but a dress with sleeves would have been a better option.
    I like the poppy pin, I always think those paper ones look childish and wish all off the royal ladies had custom designed poppy pins that look like jewels.

  15. I do love that coat! I just want to chime in about the sleeveless dress. I’m a California native like Meghan, and in California, there is no occasion when a sleeveless top or dress would be considered inappropriate. I realize it’s a much more casual culture, and the weather is warmer, but I can imagine that the question of whether sleeveless was appropriate for not might not enter her mind. I do imagine that it is likely quite chilly in London, so sleeves might be a better choice for that reason too.

  16. I’m delighted to see Meghan take to the Stella McCartney coat again. It works perfectly for evening. It’s a credit to both designer and wearer that it has segued so naturally from being worn with jeans to taking part in a high profile solemn royal event.

    The coat clearly has the added advantage that its stylish satin tie belt is soft and adjustable for maternity use. The clutch is a very handy pick, the gold trim on breaking up the dark coat and I love the new earrings.

    What we can see of the dress is intriguing. I like that the sisters-in -law have both opted for a clear-cut low neckline and simple unadorned loose hair swept back over the shoulders. Style sisters, no doubt.

  17. That coat swamps her, not a favourite of mine I’m afraid. It looks better with the polo neck and trousers, perhaps the lack of being able to really see any of her outfit underneath the coat adds to the swamped look. I think you need a more polished looking coat when your dress underneath is almost completely covered by it. I hadn’t though much about the sleeves but after the other comments I looked back at the picture and yes, your eyes are drawn to her as there’s a huge contrast with her bare flesh to the rest of the dark colours in the box so I’m with others on that.

  18. This looked like a wonderful event, thank you as always for covering it so well! Meghan looks beautiful and happy. Loved her ear climbers, I am not her age by 20 years but I think tasteful ear climbers are a lovely accessory on just about anyone.

  19. Beautiful, but agree about the sleeves – is this a California thing? E.g. maybe the different climates have different rules? I live in the cold, so am definitely pro-sleeve during times of trying to convey respect and solemnity, but maybe someone from a hot place can educate me…

    • California style is very regional. There are 40 million people in this state (55m in England), with people from all over the world. We have so much variety—in religion, culture, architecture, wealth, technology, even weather “microclimates”—from one area to another. There’s no one California anything, I think. Southern California does have a reputation for being very casual. San Francisco, however, has long been more polished and formal, although that has eroded in recent years, perhaps due to the increasing influence of high tech companies in SF and the rather sloppy Silicon Valley culture moving north. As for me, one of that 40 million, I am often cold, so I am rarely sleeveless. I was always puzzled by how Michelle Obama could go sleeveless so often—and remember, she was from Chicago, a city of bitterly cold winters, so you wouldn’t say “That’s a Chicago thing.” (She did have beautiful arms, but wasn’t she chilly?) Megan is several months along now, so maybe she just often feels warm naturally. Or maybe she knew that the hall would be stuffy. Or maybe she just didn’t think that much about sleeves vs. no sleeves! As for the outfit, I love that coat. And I like seeing a repeat. An elegant $2000 coat should get more than one outing.

  20. I think Meghan’s dress is fine. Noticing that many of the women being honored at this event are wearing cap sleeves or short sleeves, and most of the audience is in casual clothes, not black. William and Harry are in blue suits which also cause them to stand out quite a bit. If she’s supposed to completely match the Queen, Kate and Camilla at all times, I guess somebody should share the memo.

  21. I’ve not been part of the sleeves-no sleeves controversy before. I thought she looked lovely at Trooping the Color, and she got criticism for no sleeves.
    In this particular case I’m weighing in with my opinion that no sleeves for this kind of memorial event is a misstep. She sticks out like a sore thumb. I think there are a very few occasions — the Armistice being one of them — where she should always err on the side of caution/tradition. Trooping the Color celebrates the queen’s birthday. This event is something altogether different.
    It must be hard for her sometimes — she may be an HRH, but she’s a 37 yer old American, too, and that identity doesn’t disappear because you’ve married into the royal family. It’s who she is, and right now her home state is on fire everywhere, which must feel just awful for her. Her mother lives there.
    Still, she needed sleeves — cap, elbow, 3/4, full length — just something.Sounds petty, don’t mean it to, but sleeveless just looks wrong.

    • I agree about the sleeves. I don’t think that sleeveless seemed disrespectful at this event because it was an evening event and a “festival” of remembrance, not a service of remembrance. It just seemed out of kilter with what the other royal ladies were wearing and caused The Duchess of Sussex to stand out from the others, which I doubt that she intended. I am surprised that no one appears to advise HRH about such things.

  22. What a beautiful “Festival of Remembrance” at Royal Albert Hall. The sounds, visuals and participation of so many people must have filled the venue to overflowing with tributes and honor for the fallen.

    Enjoyed seeing Meghan take Stella McCartney’s Black Tie-Front coat from daytime to evening wear. The wrap coat will serve her well during her pregnancy and I love the oversized tie. The photos give the tie a bit of a sheen which easily boosts it up to evening attire. It seems to have been a blustery day. Stories of Prince Harry getting soaked at Twickenham Stadium while laying a wreath that morning makes me believe the rain was still an issue that evening.

    Meghan’s “unknown” (at least at the time of this comment) black dress looks elegant and the neckline is very becoming on her. Her simple accessories, delicate diamond crawler earrings and poppy brooch, add just the right touch. While some may quibble about the short sleeves, I feel the dress was appropriate for a “Festival of Remembrance.” While this evening marked a landmark occasion it wasn’t a solemn service, which I believe will be held on Sunday, November 11.

  23. I think Meghan looks lovely and elegant, especially her hair. I don’t remember ever seeing bare arms at this event which doesn’t mean it is inappropriate. I think for optics, it is better to have to have sleeves because in the group photograph, one’s eyes are drawn to her arms. It may be the lighting but her stockings did not photograph well. They come across as an odd and unflattering putty shade.

  24. Lovely and appropriate. I really like this coat with the elegant satin belt…clever distraction. I imagine she didn’t want her baby bump to make headlines at an event clearly so somber and moving.

    The Queen looked every inch the monarch she is. Wow.

  25. I absolutely agree. This is more of a cocktail dress…..I just cah’t get my head round her thinking! It’s as if she doesn’t pay any regard to the occasion at all.

    • Meghan is wearing two poppy pins – she wore one on her coat and one on her dress. We do not have clear enough photos of either pin/brooch, however I will be updating the post with what we do have to show those who didn’t notice in some of the images that she is indeed wearing a poppy.

  26. What a memorable evening of remembrance, pageantry and reflection.

    Meghan looked fine in her coat and it is smart to have another wearing from it. Once she took her coat off, however, I wasn’t sure about the dress. Given that it is November and this event honours Remembrance Day, I’m questioning her lack of sleeves. In the spring, Meghan wore a sleeveless dress to a memorial service and received criticism. Although not totally inappropriate, she would have appeared to display more respect, if these two dresses had sleeves. Meghan seems to be wearing panty hose tonight, although other than in the Queen’s presence, she doesn’t usually do this. I wish she would wear hose more often, because they give a polished look.

    The poppy brooches, I believe sold by the Legion are lovely. However, against a black dress and surrounded by long hair, they more or less fade into the background. I note that the larger, fabric or paper poppies worn, by the Queen, Kate, Ann and several other royals, stand out and make a statement far better than the discreet poppy brooches.

    • So much criticism. If pantyhose and long sleeves not mandatory then that’s what matters. Not what we see fit. Ladies, it is 2018, let’s lift each other up. On that note, beautiful look by Meghan and other royal ladies.

      • Sorry, but this comments section is kid-glove treatment compared to WKW. The commenters here are always respectful and do their best to look at Meghan’s ensembles in the best light possible. It’s not a fan club, it’s a fashion site, and everyone has their own opinion – to which they are entitled (just as they are on the WKW site, to be clear).

        • Firstly there is no need to compare the two women especially in terms if who receives the most criticidm. A longtime reader of this site Meghan has received her fair share of criticisms and even been compared unfavorably to her sister-in-law some times in the comments. So there’s that!
          Secondly her opinion is as valid as yours. Its one thing to not like the clothes but it doesn’t come off as clothes criticism when the comment is about she doesnt show respect or isn’t appropriate. I find it funny when people talk about all these non existent protocols and rules about her dresses. If she indeed wasnt dressed per a mystery protocol am sure she would have been advised long ago.

      • @Kate,
        Actually, this is a forum for polite commentary about fashion choices, including subjects such as sleeves versus sleeveless, and what we see as fit, or inappropriate, to the occasion. There seems to be conflicting information about royal “rules” but whether they exist or not, most of the comments agree that Meghan misread the cues and showed up sleeveless, and therefore inappropriately dressed for the occasion. I’m not sure that lifting each other up is relevant to a fashion blog.

      • I suppose its not about being mandatory, certainly for me its about dressing appropriately for the occasion and being in kilter with the rest of the royal family. It is worth noting that ladies when attending certainly Royal Navy formal events (whether Forces themselves or accompanying) are expected to have their shoulders covered and skirt below the knee. Archaic or not, it helps to set the tone. I still cringe when I see someone attend a formal event in a mini-skirt and shoulders are taken in the same regard. Its not a “rule” as such just etiquette.

  27. Sorry but going to be harsh here. Sleeves needed to worn here and a poppy you can see. Bare arms makes her stand out in the crowd and photograph and I hope that was not planned.

    • I could not agree more. Sleeves and poppy to be seen. She should have been advised by her entourage or by Harry! She can’t be expected to know all the rules but could have used her judgement. Aside from that, I really like her dress AND hercoat!

      • The problem is that they aren’t really rules but etiquette, much harder to follow. It yes, perhaps some guidance would help. And not comparing but some here will remember DOC and some fashion etiquette misses, time will allow DOS to find her own style in keeping with Royal and British etiquette, it must be a minefield for her.


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