Fans of the royal family have been freaking out ever since Meghan Markle dropped in at the British Fashion Awards on Monday.
People reports that the Duchess of Sussex made an unannounced appearance at Royal Albert Hall in London, where the British Fashion Council was hosting the awards show. Wearing a gorgeous one-shoulder black Givenchy dress and with her hair in a sleek low bun, Meghan was called out on stage by Rosamund Pike to announce the winner of the British Womenswear Designer of the Year award.
There was a very special reason why Meghan made her surprise appearance, and it all had to do with the winner. Clare Waight Keller, the artistic director of Givenchy, went home with the coveted award this year. Clare, of course, was the one who designed Meghan’s much talked about wedding gown when she married Prince Harry in May.
Meghan and Clare clearly became very good friends through the process of conceptualizing and creating the duchess’ wedding gown, given how they warmly embraced when Meghan announced the winner and presented Clare with the award. The designer was visibly shocked to see the royal there, as were members of the audience — royals don’t typically make unannounced, last-minute appearances like this, particularly at fashion events!
“I got to know Meghan on such a personal level, and to have someone like that trust you in an incredible moment in their life, is something that is just the most unbelievable honor,” Clare said during her acceptance speech. “And I cannot thank you enough, because it was just the most beautiful thing. Thank you.”
While Meghan was absolutely glowing as she cradled her baby bump on stage, people couldn’t help but point out the ways in which she apparently broke royal protocol during her appearance — by wearing dark nail polish and by posing for a photo booth GIF with Clare and Rosamund backstage.
Royal followers are well aware of the Queen’s reported dislike of dark polish and preference for light, neutral colors that aren’t a distraction. Similarly, royals aren’t typically supposed to pose for social media photos, and Meghan deleted her personal Instagram and Twitter accounts after becoming engaged to Prince Harry.
Of course, as with most reported instances of “royal protocol” being broken, we’ll never know for sure whether or not the Queen actually considered it a faux pas. And for what it’s worth, at least one royal correspondent doesn’t believe the polish was a rule-breaker. Omid Scobie told Harper’s Bazaar that while dark polish would “never” be seen at a royal engagement, “there’s a lot more flexibility on what one can wear” at a fashion event like the awards show Meghan attended earlier this week.
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