Meghan turns 40: A look back at the Duchess of Sussex’s fashion evolution

·3-min read
Meghan is celebrating her 40th birthday (Simon Dawson/PA) (PA Archive)
Meghan is celebrating her 40th birthday (Simon Dawson/PA) (PA Archive)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may have stepped down from royal duties and moved across the pond to lead a more private life in California, but we’re still obsessed with Meghan’s style.

Becoming a bonafide fashion icon during her time as a senior royal, she has come a long way since starting her career as an actor, and while some people argue the Duchess of Cambridge is the royal family’s reigning sartorial queen, we love Meghan’s fashion-forward aesthetic.

To mark her 40th birthday (August 4), this is Meghan’s style evolution…

TV star

(Alamy/PA)
(Alamy/PA)

Meghan originally made a name for herself starring in legal drama Suits, from 2011 to 2018. During that time she was a regular on the red carpet, often getting glammed up in luxe cocktail dresses teamed with killer heels.

(Alamy/PA)
(Alamy/PA)
(Alamy/PA)
(Alamy/PA)

When Harry met Meghan

(Eddie Mulholland/PA) (PA Archive)
(Eddie Mulholland/PA) (PA Archive)

After being introduced by a mutual friend, Meghan started dating Prince Harry in 2016 and the couple became engaged the following year. On announcing the engagement, the bride-to-be chose a suitably coloured white coat over a dark green dress.

(Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)
(Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)

For the big day, Meghan enlisted Clare Waight Keller the British designer formerly at the helm of French fashion house Givenchy. The silk gown – which was meant to convey “timeless minimal elegance” – divided opinion, with some people praising its stunning simplicity and others saying it was too plain for such a grand occasion.

On royal duty

(Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Archive)
(Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Archive)

There was a noticeable shift in Meghan’s style when she became the Duchess of Sussex and gave up acting altogether. For public appearances she stuck, for the most part, to a muted colour palette and frequently showed support for British designers like Erdem, Burberry and Stella McCartney.

(Richard Pohle/PA) (PA Archive)
(Richard Pohle/PA) (PA Archive)
(Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Archive)
(Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Archive)

Meghan’s relied upon American designers included Carolina Herrera, Ralph Lauren and Oscar de la Renta. Occasionally she would opt for brighter colours (perhaps taking inspiration from the Queen), such as this yellow Brandon Maxwell dress.

(Yui Mol/PA) (PA Archive)
(Yui Mol/PA) (PA Archive)

While travelling the world on royal tours, Meghan embraced local fashion, adapting her wardrobe to suit different countries and donning garments made by homegrown designers.

(Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)
(Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

The last hurrah

(Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)
(Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

For her final public appearances with Prince Harry before the couple stepped down from their roles as senior royals, Meghan seemed to be making a statement with her bold colour choices.

(Eddie Mulholland/PA) (PA Archive)
(Eddie Mulholland/PA) (PA Archive)

In a trio of green, blue and red outfits, it was as if she no longer felt bound to the demure royal dress code and was ready to have fun with fashion again.

(Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)
(Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)

California mother

We haven’t seen a whole lot of Meghan and Harry since they moved to Santa Barbara, California with son Archie – with the exception of the explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in which the pair spoke openly about the struggles they say they faced within the royal family.

Judging by Meghan’s outfit for the Oprah interview and in the photo released to announce her second pregnancy with daughter Lilibet, it looks as if she’s embracing a relaxed style more suited to Californian life.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting