Meghan Markle's royal style evolution from Suits actress to duchess in 12 pictures

MEGHAN Markle is always the picture of perfection when she steps out for engagements – but it wasn’t always the case with her fashion style. 

Since she met Prince Harry in 2016, the Duchess of Sussex, 39, has gone from girl-next-door Suits actress to chic royal star with the fashion world's eyes on her.

When she was working and living in Toronto, we’d regularly see Meghan at red carpet celebrity events in sky-scraper heels and figure-fitting dresses. 

And on dressed-down days, the starlet enjoyed a breezy LA-style, with open-toe sandals and strappy dresses. 

After her whirlwind romance with Prince Harry, the new Duchess of Sussex overhauled her wardrobe to reflect her regal status and has proved to be a huge fashion influence.

Here, Fabulous looks at Meghan’s style evolutions from her acting days, to royal life and now to forming her new post-royal life in LA…

1. Prom style

At her 1997 Christmas dance, Prince Harry’s future wife – then 16 –  was snapped cuddling up to her then-boyfriend Luis Segura while wearing a slinky black dress, choker and stylish up-do.

The dress featured a side slit and had a glittery design.

Little would a young Meghan know that she would be attending royal functions in fancy dresses on the regular, 20 years down the line.

2. Jeans and beads

Meghan was pictured before she landed her big role in Suits as paralegal Rachel Zane, at a charity event in 2006.

Looking a far cry from her sleek look now, the then-actress was pictured in bootleg jeans, a black jacket and some statement white beads.

Now Meghan accessorises with a tiny clutch instead of a chunky bag if we see her out, perhaps as she has staff members to help carry her items.

3. Louis Vuitton and open sandals

Even on dressed-down days recently, Meghan always looks elegant, but she was a fan of a more casual look in her pre-duchess days.

This look seems perfect for shopping in LA, with open sandals and a strappy, satin dress.

When she joined the royal family, Meghan had to put her once favourite open-toe shoes to one side in favour of closed-toe pairs.

Yep, that’s right – for official engagements or outings when representing the royal family it’s considered bad etiquette to wear open shoes as they’re seen to be too informal.

4. Mini skirts

By 2012, Meghan started to update her wardrobe to reflect her invites to swanky parties and events now she was in Suits.

In this shot from the USA Upfront Presentation, Meghan is full glamour in stiletto heels and a cream mini skirt.

Now her hemlines have increased substantially, as royal protocol typically has skirts or dresses ending below or just around the knee.

5. Eye-popping dresses

Having starred in Suits for two years, Meghan started to establish a chic sense of style that was perfect for the red carpet.

A go-to favourite was a show-stopping mini dress and skyscraper heels.

She also liked to wear her hair immaculately styled, with her make-up looking polished.

6. Plunging gowns

Now a well-established face at charity functions, Meghan was comfortable with impressing at big events.

Little did she know that this plunging silver dress in 2016 would catch future-husband Prince Harry's eye.

Explosive biography Finding Freedom claims: "Harry, who scoped out Meghan on social media, was interested [in a date with Meghan].

"A friend had shown him an Instagram photo of Meghan in the slinky silver mini dress at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards."

7. First royal outing

Meghan made her first appearance with Prince Harry at the Invictus Games in 2017, and channelled a casual, yet elegant style.

The actress opted for ripped jeans that cost £160 from Mother and a white £137 Husband shirt for the occasion.

A source later told Fabulous: “The Queen is no favourite of jeans so the US boyfriend look, ripped jeans will be left in Frogmore Cottage."

8. Designer wedding

Millions of eyes were on Meghan as she made history in the royal wedding to Prince Harry in 2018.

Meghan first wore a bateau-neckline Givenchy dress in St George's Chapel, but later changed into this chic Stella McCartney number.

The bespoke dresses were praised for being elegant yet modern.

9. First engagement chic

There is no pressure like stepping out for your first joint engagement with the Queen, like Meghan had to do in Chester in 2018.

Meghan covered her shoulders and looked demure in a tailored cream cape dress.

Already her royal style was developing, with Meghan preferring block-coloured dresses and plain court shoes.

The Queen is thought to have a strict 'no knees' policy when it comes to royal engagements, meaning Meghan has had to ditch her mini skirts for longer, more demure styles.

10. Hitting her royal stride

Meghan looked radiant as she stepped out in stunning Dior gown ahead of an ambassador's reception in Morocco in 2019.

She showed off her baby bump in the tight champagne-coloured Dior gown with embroidered cape detail, which she teamed with gold shoes and a small clutch bag.

Meghan wore her dark hair pulled back in a bun to show off her £6,950 diamond earrings, and she looked every inch royalty.

11. Going out with a bang

Meghan raised her fashion game when it came to her final wardrobe looks as a senior royal on her “farewell tour” of Britain. 

The Duchess of Sussex’s show-stopping looks were down to the planning of her “secret weapon” – ex-Prada PR manager Maria Means Cote.

For her final engagement at the Commonwealth Service, Meghan shone in a £1,450 green Emilia Wickstead dress and a £630 William Chambers hat.

The Mail on Sunday revealed that an insider said: “Meghan was determined to show everyone what they were losing and wanted to look as good as possible.”

12. Post-royal, LA style

Fashion stylist Lucas Armitage told Fabulous the duchess has shunned her “uncomfortable royal uniform” and has now returned to her pre-palace wardrobe. 

Speaking to Fabulous, Lucas said: “She never fully seemed comfortable with the modest dresses and structured hair that replaced her previous easy breezy style LA vibe.

“Sure, Meghan played by the rules and looked immaculately turned out, but her new royal style seemed such a departure from her old life I always wondered if she actually enjoyed wearing the clothes or if they were just her royal uniform.”

We shared how Prince William and Kate Middleton ‘missed’ Harry and Meghan’s ‘awkward’ birthday Zoom call with Queen.

And Prince Harry must have been deeply hurt by Meghan being left out of birthday messages, writer claims.

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