The world watched on in fascination as Meghan Markle transformed from a bohemian yoga-loving actress to an elegant royal in the blink of an eye.
In 2017, when she became Prince Harry’s fiancée, everything changed for the American TV star.
The Duchess of Sussex quickly evolved her iconic style – which spanned from her wardrobe, hair and even fingernail colour – to adhere to royal appropriateness.
Suddenly, the former Suits star was donning fascinators and monochrome dresses with tights, and would rarely be seen without a matching coat.
Meghan’s metamorphosis from breezy celebrity to stoic royal seemed to come at a price.
The duchess was forced to shutter her popular lifestyle blog, The Tig, and she could no longer work as an actress.
She followed royal protocol and stayed neutral on politics and divisive topics and perfected the “duchess slant” whenever she sat down.
Being a senior member of the royal family was a full-time job and Meghan was expected to follow each and every centuries-old royal rule.
That is, until, one day in January 2020. Meghan and Harry made history by announcing they were stepping down as senior royals and would become financially independent.
Meghan would maintain her Duchess of Sussex title, but she was no longer an official royal.
After three years living and breathing the monarchy, it was a new dawn for the duchess.
In her first appearance after announcing her plans to step down as a working royal, Meghan returned the public eye in an electric-blue dress from Victoria Beckham’s label, a pair of stilettos and her hair in a low ponytail.
It was a subtle change, but Meghan’s hairstyle – which was unusual for the former royal, who favoured up-dos and soft curls while a member of the monarchy – marked the beginning of her de-transformation.
Meghan’s style became far more relaxed in the months that followed. In August 2020, she wore a straw hat, a simple white t-shirt and matching white pants for a backyard chat with feminist Gloria Steinem.
During this conversation, Meghan spoke about the importance of voting ahead of the 2020 presidential election. This was a political move the duchess usually steered clear of during her time as a senior royal.
In November 2020, Meghan broke down barriers in more ways than through her style.
The duchess shattered stigma around pregnancy loss by sharing the devastating news she had a miscarriage.
In her own words, Meghan shared the “pain and grief” of losing her third child, laying bare raw emotion which was rare to see from a royal, former or not.
Her impactful essay, titled ‘The Losses We Share’, left a resounding impression and helped paved the way for women to speak about pregnancy loss.
While enjoying life as a private citizen back home in the US, Meghan adopted a new street style, which was a far cry from her royal wardrobe.
She wore jeans, khaki pants, baseball caps and linen trousers. Meghan also rediscovered the joy of denim, a fabric royals rarely wear.
Meghan also had a renewed ability to display her political leanings through fashion. In October 2020, she wore a blue “RBG” t-shirt to honour the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
She also donned a t-shirt with the words “The future is female” emblazoned on it during a video recording with Prince Harry in 2021.
Meghan also readopted her classic “boho” style while at public engagements and for photoshoots.
For her and Harry’s pregnancy announcement, the duchess wore a maternity “nap dress” with an off-the-shoulder design.
As Meghan and Harry forged a new career as advocates, philanthropists and content creators, she used style to depict herself as a businesswoman.
It was power suit season for Meghan when she toured New York City and during her 2022 Invictus Games appearances.
Abbey Booth, founder of ‘Stories With Clothes’, told Express.co.uk Meghan was using her power suits to send a message about her new ambitions.
Abbey explained: “Meghan Markle is fond of tailoring, preferring chic, elegant styles which evoke her classic style personality.
“In the last few years, she has experimented with more free-flowing pieces including floral prints and embellishments signifying her new life and freedom from the constraints of being a working royal.”
Without a royal dress code to follow, Meghan has forged her own path with her subtle but significant outfit choices.
No longer constrained by the monarchy’s strict guidelines, the former royal has slowly but surely reverted to her old style – but with entirely new meaning.
Most recently, Meghan attended Prince Harry’s polo match in Santa Barbara and looked to be her 2015 self again.
The duchess wore a bold red lipstick, floppy hat and a polka dot blouse, coupled with a pair of shorts.
It wasn’t an exceptionally outlandish outfit for Meghan, however it symbolised how much she has moved on from her brief but extraordinary time in the royal spotlight.
And it appears Meghan wants to revive many aspects of her old life, after reports emerged she was hoping to reactivate her lifestyle brand The Tig.
It’s only been a bit over two years since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped down as royals, so there is plenty more opportunity for Meghan to prove just how much she has changed.
Her outfit choices at the Platinum Jubilee could be yet another way to Meghan to send a clear message about her divergence from the royals.
What better way to change your life than through fashion?
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