Meghan’s Maternity Style as Her Patronages are Announced UPDATED

Meghan’s first four patronages were announced today and they make perfect sense for The Duchess. We were also treated to seeing her carry out an engagement at one of them, Smart Works, a charity that provides free coaching and clothing for women with confirmed job interviews.

Before getting into today’s visit to Smart Works we want to take a look at Meghan’s new patronages. From the Kensington Palace news release:

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex will become Patron of four organisations that reflect the causes and issues with which she has long been associated including the arts, access to education, support for women and animal welfare.

When you see the four organizations I think you’ll agree they really are ideal choices for Meghan, and very much in sync with volunteer work and causes we have seen her support for years.

Two of the charities Meghan will be supporting are patronages passed to her by the Queen.


The first is the National Theatre; HM was royal patron for 45 years. The Palace notes that while Meghan worked in TV for many years her training was in theater; it was one of her majors at Northwestern. KP adds that Meghan, “volunteered at a performing arts after school programme for children in underprivileged school districts in Los Angeles.” The Theatre’s artistic director, Rufus Norris, who has met with Meghan, said “The Duchess shares our deeply-held conviction that theater has the power to bring together people from all communities and walks of life.”

One of the theatre’s major new initiatives, Public Acts, is a participatory program involving the community. Below, a scene from Shakespeare’s Pericles, the first Public Acts production.  


The other patronage passed to Meghan by HM is the Association of Commonwealth Universities. HM was royal patron for the organization for 33 years. You may remember Meghan’s ACU meeting in December.

Among the topics at that meeting: “…the role of higher education in addressing issues such as human trafficking, modern slavery, gender equality, peace and reconciliation, and climate change” according to Kensington Palace.

The choice points to Meghan’s long held opinion that accessible education is vital for all. Many will recall the Duchess’s speech on the topic in October when on tour in Fiji. From Meghan’s remarks at the University of the South Pacific (an ACU member university): “Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive. And for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital.”  One of the ACU’s key principles is the value of higher education to society – or its role ‘as a common good,’ per a palace press release.


Mayhew is an animal charity “for dogs, cats and communities.” It is very much in Meghan’s wheelhouse; her love of pets is well known. The organization said it is “…thrilled that HRH shares our commitment to improving the lives of animals and people at home and internationally, and are extremely excited to make a real difference to dogs, cats and communities together.”

One of the ways the Mayhew helps places pets is through social media. Here is a Twitter post featuring a puppy named Dexter.

Mayhew pioneered a program called TheraPaws, Below, Margaret, a resident at Westmead Care Home in North London; she is getting a visit from Doodle. 


The organization “…helps long-term unemployed and vulnerable women regain the skills, confidence and tools to succeed at job interviews, return to employment and transform their lives.” This tweet offers a client’s perspective.

There are seven Smart Works locations in the UK offering free interview clothing and coaching for women with confirmed job interviews. More about Meghan’s involvement from an Elle story:

Her role with Smart Works comes after 10 months of private visits to the British charity. It was a full circle moment for Meghan, who worked for an initiative providing prom dresses to underprivileged girls in Chicago during her time at Northwestern University.

Now to the engagement at Smart Works today. Below, a video of Meghan arriving from Rebecca English of The Daily Mail.

ITV reports the Duchess said “You guys know I’ve been quietly coming by … close to a year. It’s nice to be able to now do it publicly and really talk about the work that you do.”

The organization said that Meghan’s “….decision to support Smart Works reflects her passion in supporting women, and her commitment will help women in need across the UK.” And from Smart Works Chair and Founder Juliet Hughes-Hallett:

We have been honoured to welcome The Duchess to our West London centre and see her engage with our clients and volunteers. Her empathy and insight were obvious. The Duchess is a natural coach and our clients were inspired and helped by her.

Here you see Meghan speaking with Ruma, who was out of work for almost an entire year; she was referred to Smart Works by The Prince’s Trust. She now has a part-time job and will be coming back to the office to pick out outfits. 

This video from Emily Andrews of The Sun shows Meghan working with another client.

In her story for The Telegraph Charlie Gowans-Eglinton reports the charity has helped 11,000 women in the five years it has been operating.

In many ways, it’s not a suprising choice for Meghan, who has given speeches on her own feminist views and the importance of women’s education in developing countries, as well as supporting The Hubb Community Kitchen, founded by female survivors of the Grenfell Fire.

But Smart Works has fashion at its heart, and fashion causes are so often dismissed or belittled. How important can an outfit really be? And how could a new dress possibly change a woman’s life?

The Duchess looking at jewelry during today’s visit.

Back to The Telegraph piece:

But for women who have spent years out of work due to illness or homelessness, pride in their personal appearance isn’t something to be taken for granted – and neither is having the resources to buy a sharp new blazer or smart pair of shoes to wear to an interview. In those seven seconds – the amount of time we have to make that all-important first impression – wouldn’t we all want to be dressed the part?

Here you see the Duchess Patsy Wardly

A Daily Mail story shares a fun anecdote about Meghan’s experience during a previous visit to Smart Works:

While picking out an outfit for a visitor today Meghan said:  ‘The last time I was here I suggested a purse to someone.

‘It was one that I donated and she didn’t like and I was like ‘oh OK’. I thought it was great.’

Meghan was in a coat we’d not previously seen, the Oscar de la Renta Cotton Twill Coat ($2990), a staple form the label’s permanent collection.Duchess Sussex Meghan Markle Oscar de la Renta Cotton Twill coatCrafted from a 100% cotton twill fabric, the midi length piece is a swing style with oversize lapels and collar.

The Duchess wore a dress by Hatch Collection. We now believe this is what Meghan was wearing for the private ACU meeting in December.

Many thanks to Emma4AboutRoyal, as well as Charlotte of Mad About Meghan and Elizabeth from Meghan’s Fashion for pointing this out.

Hatch is a US brand founded in 2011 by Ariane Goldman, a former American Express executive who also owns a bridal brand, Two Birds New York.Meghan was in the Eliza Dress ($218), done in a two-way stretch knit that is a viscose/poly blend. It is midi length and has ribbed detailing at the neckline and cuff. It is available at Hatch Collection, as well as at Shopbop. The maternity line has performed so well, Ms. Goldman has started Hatch Beauty, offering products described as “plant-derived and mama safe.” Meghan carried another bag by Victoria Beckham, the brand’s Vanity Top Handle Leather Tote.

The bag is another style inspired by vintage designs. It measures 8″ x 6″ x 3″ and features slot pockets and a mirror inside, with a goldtone hardware clasp and protective feet. Originally selling for $1,338, at Net-A-Porter. Our thanks to Lauren for the ID on this item.

We are still looking for the gloves Meghan wore. They are similar to a pair by Dent’s, but we want to do a little more checking before we post anything definitive.

Several longtime Meghan fashion followers, including our own Susan Courter, recognized the shoes immediately.

The style is a basic for Gianvito Rossi, seen in varying iterations every collection.

The Duchess’s earrings are by Kimai, a London based company creating sustainable jewelry with lab-grown stones. Meghan wore the Felicity style ($403, £315).

Meghan’s ring appears to be a crescent moon in gold. We are still looking for the ring. Is it similar to one from I+I Jewelry, however we want to confirm before providing more information.

UPDATE: We received confirmation that Meghan’s ring is from i+i Jewelry. It is their Crescent Moon Ring in 14kt gold, £190 – about $243.67 at today’s exchange rate.

We have also confirmed that Meghan wore the brand’s Diamond Half Hoop Earrings when attending Christmas Day services at Sandringham.

The brand is a perfect fit for the Duchess: the company’s stones are ethically sourced, and they donate 10% of all profits to Set Beautiful Free, an Indian charity that rescues women and children from sex slavery and teaches them skills to begin a new life.

Kirsty Patterson, who started i+i while living in India and making jewelry for a London-based jewelry brand, wanted to design jewelry that she couldn’t find anywhere else. She describes her pieces as “Feminine but with an edge”. Here is more from the designer:

I design jewellery with a view to it becoming an extension of the person wearing it, whether that be a single piece that you never take off, or multiple pieces that you can layer to reflect your mood. The pieces are designed to be worn together, which allows you to make it unique – pairing individual earrings or stacking the shape rings. My focus is on classic designs that won’t go out of fashion.”

Her pieces have been featured in Vogue, Elle, InStyle, The Sunday Times, Glamour, and Tatler as well as worn by celebrities such as Alexa Chung, Ellie Goulding, Samantha Cameron and Kate Moss. Kristy also creates bespoke pieces.

We’ll leave this portion of the post with a stunning shot of the Duchess from today’s visit to Smart Works.


There are new engagements for Meghan, including several next Monday with Harry and then a solo trip to The Mayhew.  From our Meg Events page:

  • Wednesday, 16th January: The Duchess will visit The Mayhew, one of her recently announced new patronages. A news release notes that she “… will meet staff, volunteers and beneficiaries, and hear more about the animal welfare charity’s various initiatives, from community engagement to international projects.”


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  1. I don’t like swing coats very much nor the black and tan color scheme because I don’t think it’s so flattering on her as her other choices of neutrals, but this whole look had a bit of Grace Kelly to it – the oversized swing coat, the gloves, the demure purse. I’m on the fence about the plexi panels but liked the contrast of the patterned shoes. I know the admins have outright stated that they don’t like people discussing things other than fashion here, and thus edit or delete comments accordingly, but I would nevertheless like to say that it seems that Meghan’s choices of patronages show how warmly and enthusiastically she has been received by the royal family. The Queen seems to have gotten to know Meghan well because these patronages suit her well and will allow her to put her personal mark on them. This is, of course, just unfounded, un-fashion related speculation.

  2. I love the patronages- they are very appropriate for her, and it is good to see her working on projects that she has real passion for- animal welfare, vulnerable women, theater and higher education in the Commonwealth. These all seem like very thoughtful choices for her, and she will do so well as their patron.

    First, she is glowing and looks wonderful! The dress looks great on her, and I agree with those who said it would only work in black. Any other color would look way too “body con” and look unprofessional. And wearing Oscar de la Renta to a charity about helping unemployed women dress in donated clothes seems not quite the right choice. Maybe a recycle of a previous coat would have been a more diplomatic choice.

    I also think the shoes are cute, but not professional. The print is fun, but the PVC inserts plus the animal print take them into more US-reality show territory. I know I couldn’t get away with wearing them at work, or to a job interview. I work in a conservative profession, though.

    NOTE: admin edit

  3. The DoS looks so healthy and happy, it’s a joy to watch her develope in her role. I love everything about this look: hair, make up and shoes. I am not a fan of the style of tight, stretchy maternity dresses. I know It is in style but I like the look of looser styles and I would think looser would be more comfortable. I really don’t see the difference in fit between this dress and the white patterned dress (worn a few weeks ago) which most people thought was too tight.

    • Hi Carol, I completely agree about looser or more tailored/structured styles looking more professional. I was also not a fan of tight, stretchy maternity dresses, since they always seemed to show too much of me. However, while I wasn’t a fan of the grey-and-white flowered dress, I think the difference here is the fabric (loose and stretchy), along with the color (dark) and fit (simple, covered-up, not too fussy). I think that the dress in a lighter color would seem too revealing, but in black it looks professional. It looks like a great maternity basic- I couldn’t wear it to work because my workplace is really conservative (no body con styles allowed for me!), but I still really like the dress.

  4. Love this look and IMO Meghan is the picture of the modern, pregnant woman – or at least the dream.
    If she had switched out suede gloves for less bulky, black calf ones – that would have been perfect.

  5. Thank you for the information about Meghan’s new patronages. It appears they were carefully chosen and the Duchess has spent time volunteering and learning about each organization. On to today’s look. I like both the coat and the dress. Very flattering, professional, and stylish, which is what Smart Works tries to share with women. The Duchess looks especially beautiful. Love the lipstick shade and am so happy her hair is pulled back off her face. The shoes are gorgeous but those acrylic panels can be most uncomfortable. I’m impressed she can wear them well into her second trimester.

    • I also think her warmth and kindness shine through. I am excited to see how her patronage with The Mayhew unfolds! I volunteer with my local animal shelter, have adopted and fostered several rescue dogs, and pne thing I loved about Meghan’s previous instagram were her pics of her two rescue dogs. She seems to have a soft spot for rescued animals, and I can’t wait to see her at the event on Wednesday. Wonder what she will wear to that event? I feel like it will be difficult to dress professionally/stylishly but accommodate for the animals. Dogs are hard on clothes- yikes! Sounds like another tricky event to dress for, just like the sporting event where she wore the de la Renta peplum top and heels to play ball in the gym, then had to go formally present an award- how does one dress for two completely different events in one day? It is a bit of a fashion conundrum, unless you are a quick-change artist.

  6. I thought she looked amazing once she took off that enormous coat! I know she loves the over-sized coats, but I wish it weren’t her signature look. I think the fit of the dress works because it’s a dark color. If it were a light brown or white and we saw every indent from underwear and bra, that might be different. But I think it looks beautiful – very slimming which is an odd thing to say of a lady well along in her pregnancy! She looks healthy and beautiful!!

    One of the pictures I’m seeing on instagram a lot appears to show her pulling a camel colored coat for the woman they’re dressing! How fitting! It deserves a caption contest – “Hmm, one I don’t own yet!” or “No matter your outfit, the season, or the setting, the camel coat pulls it all together!” or “Trust me! You can’t imagine how far my camel coats have gotten me!!” 😀

    • I mean she loves her camel colored coats right??? I saw the video of her touching the camel colored coat and I was thinking “That’s not for you Meghan! Focus!” Haha. Even Kate has certain dresses in the same color or same style in multiples! We all gravitate towards a few things that end up in multiples in our closets. You should see the obscene amount of dark scarves/black pants/dark colored shirts I have in my wardrobe.

  7. Loved the fitted frock that accentuates Meg’s blossoming baby bump and those shoes are to die for, fun and fabulous. Swing coats are gorgeous and the elegant tailoring set this outfit magnificently. How could anyone criticise this fabulous outfit.

  8. Congratulations to Duchess Meghan on her new patronages I wish her great success in all her endeavors.
    Well, Camel and black is always a winner. That black dress is a potential work horse both now and after Baby Sussex comes, and should be in every woman’s closet in some form or other. This outfit I think works best if looked at as a whole rather than it’s parts. The colors works so well and compliment The Duchess’s complexion beautifully. The shoes adds style and interest. That dick Tracey/ superhero coat pulled the entire look together, and the handbag is just classic. Every style icon from Grace Kelly to Princess Diana to QE2 has a black bag like this in her closet, and the gloves adds that nice touch of elegance. I only wish the color of the gloves was a closer match to the camel color of the coat. I am also glad to see that Meghan is delving into her pre marriage closet, she has some treasures there. Hair and makeup…flawless.

  9. I just love these patronages for Meghan! I love that they aren’t shying away from her actress history and instead embracing it with the theater patronage. And then the universities and the organization for women… so great!

    PS… those shoes!! OMG!! Love!

  10. Oh nice look! Better than the black and white dress from her last engagement. I don’t see how this dress is not tailored properly? She is carrying high so maybe that’s why?
    Anyhoodle, the shoes really tie this look together! They are so fun! I didn’t even notice they were part plexiglas at first which is probably why I’d never get them but they are so cute! The coat is also nice, for some reason on the model it gives me Little Red Riding Hood vibes but it looks great on Meghan. The earrings are fun too. I think Meghan makes her outfits fun with her accessories since she tends to stick to darker tones (which she isn’t going to change so not sure why people keep expressing dismay over that).
    As for all these patronages, they are all great additions for Meghan. And how great she visited one on the day they were announced! I really like this Smart Works initiative helping underprivileged women get back out into the professional world. I’m really excited for when Meghan goes to visit Mayhew mostly because I just want to see pictures of her interacting with dogs.

    • I am also confused as to why people are so frustrated with her muted/neutral colored wardrobe. Most people’s professional attire is not every color of the rainbow. Meghan obviously likes navy, black, neutral tones. And looks gorgeous in them!

    • I agree so much about her choices of accessories- I’m not always a fan of her shoes (she’s too fashion-forward and experimental for my traditional taste), but I love, love, love her jewelry. Elegant, fresh and modern, and always adding that little bit of whimsy or fun to her outfit.

      I also don’t understand the issue with neutral colors and black/navy. I think it is wise to develop a wardrobe that suits her style preferences, and one she can mix-and-match. Dark colors like navy, forest green, gray and black are so professional, and it is hard to go wrong with the classic black dress-camel coat combination (although I wish she had recycled a previous coat on this occasion, given the charity supports women who do not have access to expensive clothing).

  11. Congrats to the DoS on her new patronages! That seems like a very strong gesture of trust and support from the Queen.

    I think she looks just about perfect. A trim LBD, a camel swing coat, and fabulous heels–just unimpeachable taste. Her minimalist style reminds me a lot of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy (RIP), who also worked the camel and black combo, and was not afraid of an animal print.

    Her updo is sleek and tidy without looking uptight, and the earrings (and of course the shoes) add some whimsy and flair. Love the bag as well.

    I am not seeing the fit issues that some others are–not at all–so in the end I really have to say I can’t find fault with this. Well played!

    • Agree with you about the fit, any wrinkles just look natural to me, I don’t need some kind of glossy perfection. And I think you’re so right about unimpeachable taste with a dash of whimsy and flair. Beautiful Meghan!

  12. I’m trying to be cross about yet more black and tan neutrals, but it won’t work as Meghan looks simply wonderful and glowing. Her updo is a knock-out and if we are to be treated to more such sleek styles then I for one am delighted, this is sophisticated and practical and entirely in keeping with preserving a royal demeanour. And it brilliantly showcases those sensational earrings which are simply beyond perfect for elegance with a hint of edge.

    Likewise the amazing shoes are set off wonderfully by the neutral combo, and it’s great they can be sourced as ones Meghan has used before. Such a lovely link to her old life – what a journey she is on. I love the handbag too, it falls into the category of ‘don’t-care-what-the-price-tag-is’ and I welcome the reappearance of VB. I’m not so sure about the carrying of gloves, they look out of place to me, though they clearly match the outfit.

    I am tired of the endless flapping overcoats, but I am also a sucker for the old 50’s swing back style with sweeping collar, such fun to wear, I’ve had a dark navy three-quarter length one for years and it never fails for evening. This OdlR take on the classic style is superb, though maybe a touch dressy for the occasion.

    It’s also a delight to see Meghan finding some comfortable maternity wear from Hatch, and of course a black shift can work its magic on multiple outings as she’s demonstrating here. I love seeing the baby bump being showcased like this. So for an outfit I’m sure I shouldn’t like, this one seems to be an all round winner!! 😀 Thanks for the concise and eloquent resume of Meghan’s patronages.

  13. Beautiful! Generally, I don’t like “swing” coats at all. They seem shapeless and massively tent-like even on models, and I guess I just don’t get it – but as swing coats go, this one is excellent. It moves and drapes beautifully.
    And I’m just glad to see Meghan having a healthy, successful pregnancy, and looking so happy.

  14. this looks like a maternity dress every woman should own. Comfortable, flattering and can be used for any occasion. Picture it with a jean jacket and sneakers. Add a pashmina wrap and sky high heels and you’re off to the theatre.

  15. The shoes add pizzazz to her usual black and taupe! The one glaring, nearly constant issue is that the dress does not fit her correctly! The fabric wrinkling/pulling around the bust means it’s too small there. She isn’t like us common folks, stuck wearing whatever we can find at Target to stuff our pregnant selves into in desperation. (Though this fit issue predates her pregnancy IMO.) She can buy the size that fits correctly through the bust and have the rest altered. I can’t imagine how this will pull in a month or so if she’s like many pregnant women and get fuller before delivery. Why, fashion gods, why?

  16. Must say, the usual problem with this nice lady I adore, is that coats do not fit her properly. Since last year in Sandringham, most of her coats are too large. Maybe she is too petite and should need alterations. Plus, as Italian fashionista, please never match pattern pumps wh beige coat :-)) A snow white tigh coat would have been perfect. Lastly in this case a low tail would have been more appropriate. The cignon is too severe for the outfit and the meeting. Mark 7/10

  17. What an exciting announcement from Kensington Palace and wonderful post from WMW! Those are ideal patronages for Meghan and what fun to see her in action at Smart Works today.

    It’s inspiring to see her actively assisting and engaging with the staff, volunteers, coaches, and clients at Smart Works. I can sense Meghan’s sincerity and genuine interest.

    Meghan’s fashion today put a spring in my step with that swinging coat with oversized lapels and shawl collar and those Gianvito Rossi heels. The simple black dress by maternity line, Hatch, and the strong lines and style of the VB tote completed Meghan’s professional yet personable look.

    Go get ’em, Duchess!

  18. I love the swing coat with the oversized peter-pan style collar. In fact, I like the collar as it appears on Meghan better than on the model for some reason. The coat looks as if it could work through latter stages of pregnancy and might look just as stylish post pregnancy due to its classic cut. I am also a fan of the delicate cut of her shoes; they lend a lovely balance to a baby bump that is becoming more pronounced. Lastly, I cannot underline enough how gorgeous Meghan looks with her hair scraped back and minimal makeup. Very modern, while classic, and utilitarian as well. My only, very minimal critique, is the body conscious style of the dress. I am a little younger than Meghan but very traditional, and I would choose a more tailored dress over a t-shirt style body-con dress like today’s dress (especially at a public event). But I give this a pass today because it appears she recycled it–and that is always a smart idea! Overall, well done today!

  19. It seems that the four patronages align very closely with Meghan’s interests and passions. All good!

    Regarding her outfit, the coat makes quite a beautiful statement. I am glad to see that Meghan is in maternity wear, which looks appropriate and must be more comfortable. I continue to see the repeat of black and navy as uninspired and boring.

    While the cow patterned shoes, add some interest, I don’t like the ones she is wearing. The clear plastic along the sides, looks cheap in close up shots. I find Victoria Beckham’s purses to be very stiff and boxy. However, there is no denying that Meghan’s warmth and smile are her best accessories.

  20. Starting on a positive note: What a beautiful silhouette the coat has! Wish we could see it from the back on Meghan!
    But the dress, oh dear! It is dreadfully tight, way too bodycon! From the side view of Meghan, it is so tight that it looks inappropriate and Kardashiany. I am one of those who believe that royals should dress in a more dignified manner, and this dress is just the opposite. It shows too much. No, it is not royal, not refined, and not proper for a Duchess.
    And the shoes? The shoes make her toes look weirdly aligned… I appreciate the attempt at a pattern, but the plexi, however in it may be, is a fail.
    Again, royals should be above trends. They are representing the throne and the crown, and their clothing should always be dignified.

  21. Fun Patterned Shoes!!!
    She looks polished, professional and just the right amount of stylish.
    What a great patronage for Meghan. I love how she brings her personal “hands on” touch to her engagements.

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