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Meghan Markle’s final ‘act of defiance’ ahead of royal exit

Royal expert on Harry and Meghan omission from King's speech

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Meghan Markle has claimed she tried to dress down while working as a senior royal in a bid to blend in, a revelation which came during her and her husband Prince Harry’s new Netflix documentary series, Harry & Meghan. It was made after footage of her wearing a bright red dress to the Salute to Freedom Gala in NYC was shown, an event which took place over a year after the couple stepped down from their positions. 

“Most of the time that I was in the UK, I rarely wore colour,” Meghan said. “There was thought in that. To my understanding, you can’t ever wear the same colour as Her Majesty if there’s a group event, but then you also shouldn’t be wearing the same colour as one of the other, more senior members of the family.”

She continued: “So I was like, well what’s a colour that they’ll probably never wear? Camel? Beige? White? So, I wore a lot of muted tones, but it also was so I could just blend in. Like, I’m not trying to stand out here. So there’s no version of me joining this family and trying to not do everything I could to fit in. I don’t want to embarrass the family.”

In a later episode, Meghan recalled her and Harry’s final week of engagements before their exit, talking about embracing colour and how her outfits shifted from neutral colours to a “rainbow” of hues. 

This has since been described as an “act of defiance” from the Duchess, with several royal commentators noting Meghan’s very public rebellion against the royal protocol she believed was in place. This included Pod Save the King podcast hosts Russell Myers and Zoe Forsey who, speaking in an episode earlier this month, discussed Meghan’s wardrobe choices. 

During what Ms Forsey described as their “farewell week”, Meghan and Harry carried out a flurry of engagements, culminating in the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey. Days before that, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended The Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House and the Mountbatten Music Festival at Royal Albert Hall. 

At the awards ceremony, Meghan wore a blue midi dress with chic short sleeves by Victoria Beckham. Two days later, at the music festival, Meghan looked stunning in a flowing red gown by Safiyaa. Then, when they joined the rest of the senior royals at the Abbey, the Duchess donned a green caped dress by Emilia Wickstead with a matching hat by William Chambers. 

“If you think the protocol is that you’re not allowed to wear bright colours and then on your last week back, you wear beautiful colours…” said Ms Forsey. “Maybe I’m overselling it here but I’ve described it as an act of defiance.”

Mr Myers agreed, and said: “Well it was, it was like: ‘We’re free. I can do what I want. I don’t need to conform to this hierarchy within the monarchy,’ and that’s probably what she did feel like — she didn’t want to step out of line. I think a lot of people will again, have sympathy for talking about that.” 

The Daily Mirror’s royal editor went on to discuss Meghan’s allegation that she had no help with learning the royal ropes. During the documentary the Duke and Duchess claimed Meghan was not offered any advice on fashion, walkabouts or royal protocol. 

Meghan referenced the Disney film The Princess Diaries, which sees an awkward teenager discover she is the heir to the throne of a European country and embarks on ‘Princess lessons’ with her grandmother — the reigning Queen. Unlike the film, the Duchess claims she was left to figure out how to adapt to royal life on her own. 

She said: “Joining this family, I knew that there was a protocol for how things were done, and, do you remember that old movie [The] Princess Diaries with Anne Hathaway? There’s no class and some person who goes: ‘Sit like this, cross your legs like this, use this fork, don’t do this, curtsy then, wear this kind of hat’ — doesn’t happen…I never saw pictures or videos of a walkabout, [I was] like, what’s a walkabout?” 

Prince Harry added he “could talk her through as much as I knew, but the piece I really didn’t know about was the style, how a woman needed to dress”. He said the lack of support was “ridiculous”.

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However, it has since been claimed that Meghan did in fact have help when it came to learning about her new role, with reports ​revealing that six months before Harry and Meghan’s wedding in May 2018, the Prince’s then-private secretary, Ed Lane Fox, known affectionately as ‘Elf’, gave Meghan a 30-point dossier filled with information and contacts for the role she was taking on.

“I think it [Meghan’s claim] has been widely disputed,” Mr Myers said. “There was an awful lot of help on hand. I don’t know why she was considering the fact that she only could wear camel colours and muted tone; it’s hardly the biggest bombshell in this whole thing, but they’re trying to paint the picture of her being really downtrodden and nervous.”

Meghan and Harry’s docuseries came to an explosive end earlier this month, ahead of the Royal Family’s Christmas celebrations at Sandringham. 

According to a royal writer, the US-based royals were strictly off limits for their UK counterparts as “anything to do with it will end in tears”. Journalist Adam Helliker argued the topic of the Sussexes had “spoiled enough” days for the Royal Family, so any conversation about them would be avoided. 

Mr Helliker told The Sun last week: “I think if it’s one guarantee you can make, it’s that the subject, which will not be raised, is anything to do with Harry and Meghan or Netflix. It’s spoiled enough of their days so far, especially Charles and Camilla’s early days as new King and Queen. It’s almost a nuclear-radioactive subject. Anything to do with it is going to end in tears really.” 

The Royal Family gathered together at the Norfolk estate and put on a united front as they attended the traditional service on Christmas morning. They are continuing to ignore the claims made by the Sussexes. 

Now, they are reportedly awaiting what is expected to be the next round of bombshells — Harry’s long-anticipated memoir is set to be published in January 10. 

Many have predicted that Spare, the title of the book, will reveal details about the Duke’s life within the Palace walls, opening up about his mother’s death, mental health and experiences as the ‘spare heir’. Ahead of the publication, Harry will sit down for several TV interviews as part of a media blitz to promote the book. 

 

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