Tradition, pageantry and fashion collided at the fairy tale wedding of American actress Meghan Markle, the new Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday.
After months of speculation about what dress Markle would ultimately say yes to, the answer arrived (in a vintage Rolls-Royce Phantom IV no less): Givenchy by designer Clare Waight Keller, a British designer and notably the first female artistic director of the French fashion house. The gown featured an open bateau neckline, sculpted waist and slim three-quarter sleeves along with a long rounded train. She accessorized with Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara lent to her by the queen, made in 1932 with the center brooch dating from 1893, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
It was an unexpected pick, with London bookies betting that Markle would go for a big British brand such as Alexander McQueen or Ralph & Russo.
“The choice of Claire Waight Keller for Givenchy stunned us all from left field,” said Avril Graham, Harper’s Bazaar executive fashion and beauty editor, who is in London for the festivities. “A fashionista selection for sure, proving Meghan will roll to her own beat with designer choices.” She added that Waight Keller “has a reputation for lines with a flair for spectacular simplicity.”
According to a statement from Kensington Palace, “After meeting earlier this year, Markle “chose to work with [Waight Keller] for her timeless and elegant aesthetic, impeccable tailoring, and relaxed demeanour.”
Celebrity stylist Robert Verdi lauded the choice, calling the boat neck and three-quarter sleeve "the closest to sexy you could get at a royal wedding." He also liked that it was a completely unembellished dress. "It was the American sportswear of royal wedding dresses,” he says.
Other notables in the crowd included Oprah Winfrey wearing a double tiered blush dress by Stella McCartney and a big, feathered hat by milliner Phillip Treacy, Serena Williams in a rosy Versace and bowed fascinator and Amal Clooney in a vivid yellow midi dress, also by Stella McCartney. But the visual standout here may have been Queen Elizabeth, who wore a Stewart Parvin coat and dress ensemble in an electric shade of lime green.