- From Meghan Markle to Princess Diana, the royal family has made some daring wardrobe decisions.
- There are lots of royal rules that have to do with one’s wardrobe.
- Some of these controversial and memorable outfits were caused by accidents and others seemed to send a message.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
There technically aren’t any rules royals must abide by but members of the royal family have come to be expected to adhere to certain protocols, including staying clear of social media or posing for a selfie with fans.
A number of these unofficial rules relate to their wardrobe.
Often, when a royal makes an official engagement, their outfits are one of the most discussed topics. From the late Princess Diana to Meghan Markle, members of the British monarchy have been turning heads with their daring ensembles.
Here are 11 times royals caused a stir with their outfits.
Princess Michael of Kent wore a brooch many considered racist for her first time meeting Meghan Markle.
When the Duchess of Sussex met the royal family for the first time, at Queen Elizabeth’s annual Christmas lunch in 2017, Princess Michael of Kent arrived wearing a blackamoor brooch.
This particular accessory has origins as far back as the 13th century and has been likened to exoticizing black people as servants. Kent was accused of wearing the brooch to insult Prince Harry’s future spouse. Facing considerable backlash, she later apologised.
Princess Diana wore a little black dress many considered “The Revenge Dress.”
It’s no secret that Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana had a tumultuous relationship. On the evening that Prince Charles’ controversial documentary aired in 1994 (the one in which he admitted to having an affair), Diana arrived at the Serpentine Gallery in a look that remains synonymous with her short stint as a royal, a stunning velvet little black dress with a plunging neckline.
It was an outfit no royal had ever dared to wear before. Consequently, the dress to this day has been nicknamed “The Revenge Dress.”
The Duchess of Sussex wore an off the shoulder dress for her first every Trooping the Colour.
In June 2018, the duchess showed up to her very first Trooping the Colour in a blush Carolina Herrera dress that undoubtedly caused some uproar. Royal tradition seems to have women shying away from off-the-shoulder styles, but as Teen Vogue pointed out, Kate Middleton has rocked the style in the past.
But that didn’t stop some fans from questioning Meghan Markle’s decision to wear the dress.
Kate Middleton’s near wardrobe malfunction reportedly inspired the royal tailor to make a significant adjustment.
In 2011, The Duchess of Cambridge donned a yellow Jenny Packham dress that nearly caught the breeze on the tarmac in 2011. Queen Elizabeth reportedly put plans in motion to prevent that from occurring in the future.
Stewart Parvin, one of the Queen’s tailors, reportedly began sewing weights into the hem of her garments, which in the future prevents them from blowing up in the wind. “I use curtain weights, lead weights, from Peter Jones’s curtain department. We call them pennyweights,” he told The Daily Mail.
Middleton also didn’t wear black to the 2018 BAFTA Awards.
While most attendees wore black to the 2018 BAFTA Awards in solidarity of the Time’s Up movement, Middleton decided to wear a dark-green dress. Royal family protocol strictly forbids its members from adhering to a political belief. However, many likened the black sash Middleton wore around her torso as a subtle nod to her support of the campaign.
Princess Eugenie wore a bright-blue dress to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding and some thought it took attention away from the bride.
Prior to Prince William and Kate’s 2011 nuptials, Princess Eugenie and older sister Princess Beatrice were not overly well-known members of the royal family but their appearance at the ceremony would have many people talking.
The sisters both wore fascinators for the April affair. Eugenie’s blue cap, pinned to the front of her head, perfectly matched her blue and green Vivienne Westwood dress, but it was the busy arrangement of flowers and feathers that sent it over the top. Some onlookers felt like the daring hue took considerable attention away from the future Duchess of Cambridge.
Prince Harry infamously dressed as a Nazi for a costume party.
Back in 2005, Prince Harry made headlines for photos of him dressed up as a Nazi officer for a costume party. The then-20-year-old prince faced major backlash for the costume and later issued a statement apologizing: “Very sorry if I caused any offence or embarrassment to anyone. It was a poor choice of costume and I apologise.”
Some thought Meghan Markle broke a subtle piece of royal protocol at the 2018 British Fashion Awards.
Meghan Markle made a surprise appearance at the Royal British Awards in December 2018 to present her wedding dress designer Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy the Womenswear Designer of the Year honour.
She donned a beautiful black one-shouldered Givenchy with a sleek bun. However, it was her striking black nails that stole the show. Typically, the Queen reportedly only likes minimal (read: nude) polish colours.
PETA had some thoughts about Kate Middleton’s fur-lined gloves in 2016.
Prince William and Kate took Prince George and Princess Charlotte on a ski trip in 2016 and animal-rights activist group PETA took note of the duchess sporting a pair of Restelli-Guanti gloves lined with possum fur.
In a statement to E! News, a spokesperson for PETA promised to contact Middleton about her misstep and inform her about the ways designers kill animals for their coats.
Meghan Markle accidentally wore a dress with the tag still attached.
A move quite possibly everyone has done, Markle arrived in Tonga for an official engagement with husband Prince Harry in October 2018 with the tag still visibly attached to her dress.
It was a stunning embroidered red dress from Self-Portrait and the gaffe turned heads. Nevertheless, the duchess handled the appearance with class and reminded us all that even some of the most famous individuals make mistakes.
Meghan Markle caused a stir with her 2019 Wimbledon outfit that included jeans and a hat.
On July 4, during Wimbledon 2019, Markle was called out for supposedly failing to meet the tournament’s dress code. The duchess wore a hat and jeans and she reportedly wanted to be incognito.
But according to the Times, because of her outfit, Markle was not allowed to watch the game from the royal box (though it’s unclear if she actually intended to do so).
Reportedly, wearing denim is frowned upon and “not allowed” when in members’ areas at Wimbledon. In addition, Markle was also wearing a hat, another item of clothing that’s believed to be banned from the royal box.
Although there are no official Wimbledon rules against Markle’s ensemble, many noted how much her outfit contrasted with Middleton’s. Middleton had attended a few days prior wearing a white button-down dress and she sat in the royal box.
Regardless of their outfits, both duchesses still got to enjoy Wimbledon.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.