When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry first left the royal family in 2020, they kept a relatively low profile while living in California (save for that juicy interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021). But over the last year, the couple has attended red carpets and promoted new projects that are thrusting them back into the spotlight. Take the duo’s Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan, which dropped on Dec. 8. Part 1, which contains three episodes, is rife with information, from how the couple first met to how protocols affected Markle’s royal wardrobe choices (down to the colors she could and could not wear).
For those who have not watched the series yet, in episode three the Archewell founder recalls how she had to navigate her wardrobe as a new member of the royal family. “Most of the time that I was in the U.K. I rarely wore color...” Markle revealed in a scene. “To my understanding, you can’t ever wear the same color as Her Majesty if there’s a group event, but then you also shouldn’t be wearing the same color as one of the other, more senior members of the family.” (Historically, the late queen wore bright colors like fuchsia, lime green, and yellow to stand out from the crowd.)
In order to not steal the spotlight from anyone, Markle chose to wear a lot of muted tones during her time as a working royal. See her navy outfit from Victoria Beckham on Christmas Day in 2018 or the white coat and printed dress combo, also from VB, for Commonwealth Day in March 2019.
Aside from not color-clashing with the queen or other senior royals in the monarchy, Markle also wore neutrals to blend in. “Like, I’m not trying to stand out here,” she says in the docuseries. “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.” Fans will recall that the duchess favored black and navy dresses, camel coats, and black pumps from the likes of Aquazzura.
Throughout the years, however, on the few occasions that she and Prince Harry attended events without the extended family, Markle would play with wearing bolder hues. Take her unexpected purple and red outfit during the couple’s visit to Birkenhead in January 2019 as a prime example, or Markle’s cerulean-blue dress from Victoria Beckham (she really loves the brand) at The Endeavour Fund Awards back in March 2020.
Nowadays though, Markle — who resides in Montecito, Santa Barbara with Prince Harry and their two children — can wear whatever color she pleases and has adopted more of a relaxed West Coast-inspired wardrobe of sandals, denim shorts, and button-down shirts. You’ll be able to see this casual approach to dressing throughout the first three episodes, and in Part 2 of the docuseries when the new episodes drop on Dec. 15.