Queen thought Meghan Markle’s wedding dress was ‘too white’ as Sussexes mark sixth anniversary

The late Queen reportedly thought it was inappropriate that the Duchess of Sussex looked so ‘flamboyantly virginal’

Maryam Zakir-Hussain,Meredith Clark
Sunday 19 May 2024 19:20 BST
Related: Meghan Markle walks down the aisle in Givenchy dress to marry Prince Harry

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have marked six years since tying the knot at St George’s Chapel.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding, which took place at Windsor Castle on 19 May 2018, was watched by nearly 30 million people in the US. Leading up to the ceremony, there was much speculation over which fashion designer Meghan had tapped to create her custom gown.

The Suits actor ultimately wore an elegant, off-the-shoulder dress designed by Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy as she walked down the aisle. However, according to royal biographer Ingrid Seward, the late Queen Elizabeth II thought that Meghan’s wedding dress was “too white” for a divorcée.

The book My Mother and I, which was released in October 2023, claimed that the late Queen only revealed her opinion to her closest confidantes. The Queen’s cousin Lady Elizabeth Anson, who is said to have been among those confidantes, reportedly claimed the monarch thought that Meghan’s dress was improper – considering she had been married prior to Prince Harry.

“In the monarch’s view, it was not appropriate for a divorcée getting remarried in church to look quite so flamboyantly virginal,” Seward wrote in an extract of the book obtained by the Daily Mail.

Meghan was previously married to film producer Trevor Engleson, but they divorced four years before she married Harry in 2018.

The late Queen thought it was inappropriate for Meghan to look ‘flamboyantly virginal’
The late Queen thought it was inappropriate for Meghan to look ‘flamboyantly virginal’ (Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The duchess’ wedding gown captivated audiences as she made her way into St George’s Chapel. Meghan reportedly chose Waight Keller, Givenchy’s first female artistic director, to create her wedding dress due the designer’s “elegant aesthetic” and “relaxed demeanour”.

The gown featured a bateau neckline and five-meter-long veil, which was embroidered with flora from all 53 countries in the Commonwealth. Two of Meghan’s favourite flowers were also added to the veil: the wintersweet flower, which grows in front of Nottingham Cottage where she and Prince Harry lived, and the California poppy from her home state in the US.

The tiara worn by Meghan during the ceremony was loaned to her by the late Queen. The diamond bandeau of Queen Mary’s tiara, which held the duchess’ veil in place, was made in 1932 with a brooch at the centre, created in 1893.

In the six-part Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan, released in December 2022, Meghan said that she was very specific in her preferences for the dress. She opted for the bateau neckline because she had become known for wearing it while working as a senior member of the royal family.

“I had a very clear vision of what I wanted for the day, and what I wanted the dress to look like, and so what was amazing in working with Clare is that sometimes you’ll find designers try to push you in a different direction,” the duchess said about the dress. “But she just completely respected what I wanted to see for the day, and she wanted to bring that to life for me.”

“So I knew at the onset I wanted a bateau neckline, I wanted a cropped sleeve, I wanted a very timeless, classic feeling,” she said. “Obviously with respect to the environment we were in and St George’s Chapel, being really modest in what it would look like, I knew that the tailoring was so key, because the dress itself would be so covered up.”

Meanwhile, Waight Keller reflected on designing the gown in the docuseries, noting that there was immense pressure to make her dress look flawless. “Looking at the design of the dress, there were many conversations we had over how you want to present yourself to the world,” she explained.

The designer also hid several intricate details within the dress, including “something blue” sewn into the hem.

“We basically sewed it into the hem of the wedding dress, so she was the only one that knew that it was there,” Waight Keller told Vanity Fair in August 2023. “It was a little blue gingham check. It was the perfect personal memento that was secretly hidden inside the dress.”

Following their 2018 wedding, Prince Harry and Meghan welcomed their first child, son Archie Harrison, on 6 May 2019 in London, England. The couple later stepped down from their positions as senior working royals in 2020 and relocated to Montecito, California. Harry and Meghan went on to welcome their second child, daughter Lilibet “Lili” Diana, on 4 June 2021 in Santa Barbara, California.

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