As Meghan Markle made her transition from actress to duchess, the world has been privy to a real-time evolution. Both Meghan’s personal style and royal guidelines have meshed into one: the necklines are higher, the hemlines are longer, but Megs is still as chic as ever.
British taxpayers will be happy to know that they are not the ones responsible for the Duchess of Sussex’ wardrobe. Prior to Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding, the couple was responsible for paying for the soon-to-be royal’s clothing out of pocket, People reported. Now that they’ve married and Meghan is officially a member of the royal family, the duchess is allotted a clothing budget for official royal engagements from her father-in-law Prince Charles’ $28 million income.
Between the wedding, a spendy royal tour, plus the other wardrobe staples, you won’t believe how much Meghan Markle has spent on fashion alone. We’re about to break this down piece by piece, and then we’ll reveal the total staggering amount at the end — we hope you’re sitting down.
For Harry and Meghan’s engagement announcement and the couple’s first joint BBC interview, the then-actress chose a hunter green wool dress by Italian brand P.A.R.O.S.H. Company founder Paolo Rossello told The Telegraph that "the dress was sold out in less than one hour in all shops and online" after the interview aired.
The dress with the simple bow detail was one of the most affordable pieces Meghan has donned to date at $644. Although you could say the dress was very moderately priced for a soon-to-be duchess, it was just the first of many outfits Meghan would need in order to attend royal engagements. According to Nichol’s calculations, Meghan’s working wardrobe has already cost over $163,000.
"Meghan is now an ambassador for the royal family," Nichol explained. So, is it worth it? "I’d argue that it’s worth every penny," Nichol told Entertainment Tonight. Of course, it’s also great publicity for the different brands she wears.
A picture-perfect gown
A post shared by Kensington Palace (@kensingtonroyal) on Dec 21, 2017 at 3:59am PST
Not every outfit of Meghan’s is as budget-conscious as the P.A.R.O.S.H. dress. In December 2017, Kensington Palace released Harry and Meghan’s official engagement portrait. Meghan’s gown, with its sheer embroidered top and full skirt, was a little risqué for some tastes.
The couple’s photographer, Alexi Lubomirski told Entertainment Tonight that he was shocked by the public’s reaction. He said Meghan had tried on a couple different dress, but ultimately picked the one she felt most comfortable wearing. "We weren’t really thinking, ‘Is it nude?’ or anything. We just thought, ‘Feel comfortable and let’s make some nice pictures,’" said Lubomirski.
Although the sheerness of Meghan’s outfit is what surprised most folks, the sticker price is perhaps more shocking. The cost of the comfortable embellished gown made by designer Ralph & Russo has been estimated at nearly $74,000. That’s more than most Americans — and Brits — make in a full year. Take a second to let that sink in.
The dress we were all waiting for
Most couples in the United States spend anywhere between $400 to $1,700 for a wedding dress, according to WeddingWire. For many, that’s a lot to spend on a dress you’re likely to only wear once. Of course, Meghan wasn’t your average bride so it’s only reasonable to expect her dress to have cost more — much, much more — than that of the average bride.
Meghan’s stunning full-length ivory silk gown — complete with a bateau neckline, three-quarter sleeves, and delicate train — was designed by Claire Waight Keller of Givenchy. Even paired with a hand-embroidered silk tulle veil measuring over 16 feet long and coordinating custom Givenchy silk duchess satin heels, Meghan’s wedding dress was still minimalist and understated. Despite its simplicity, it was a custom gown for a royal wedding so, as you can imagine, nothing about the price was minimalist.
The duchess’ stunning bespoke wedding day ensemble has been valued not far off from a half-million bucks, at over $441,000.
You can’t forget her second wedding gown
After the Prince and Duchess of Sussex’ ceremony, Meghan changed into an elegant reception gown before she and her brand new hubby headed to their private reception at Frogmore House. "The Bride’s evening dress is designed by Stella McCartney and is a bespoke lily white high neck gown made of silk crepe," Kensington Palace revealed in a statement. Meghan’s flowing gown was paired with "silky satin" Aquazurra heels.
Stella McCartney, both the brand and the woman behind the brand, are known for ethical — albeit pricy — fashion. In an interview with The Guardian, the designer expressed her wish that more people "would save up and buy one thing at Stella McCartney instead of the 20 things they buy from a fast-fashion label." Though, if you want a dress like that of Meghan’s evening gown, you’re going to have to save for a very, very long time. Nichol estimated the gown’s cost at $157,000.
The perfect ensemble for a date with the Queen
Getting to know your new in-laws can be an intimidating experience. But, just imagine if your father-in-law were the heir apparent to the British throne and your husband’s grandmother were the longest reigning monarch. This is, of course, the family Meghan married into.
Less than a month after Harry and Meghan married, the Duchess of Sussex was invited to her first solo outing with Queen Elizabeth. The outing involved a nearly 200-mile train ride — overnight. While yoga pants would’ve definitely been the most comfortable ensemble for the long trip, that certainly would not do when in company of the Queen.
Instead, Meghan opted for a knee-length bespoke belted nude Givenchy cape dress along with a pair of black heels by Sarah Flint. This supremely proper outfit was a solid choice by Meghan and was likely appreciated by the ever-modest Queen of England. Perhaps that made the $18,000 price tag a bit more palatable.
This simple summer wrap dress
A post shared by Ms.MeghanMarkle_forever (@ms.meghanmarkle_forever) on Apr 2, 2019 at 9:27pm PDT
Shortly after Meghan and Harry themselves wed, the couple attended the royal wedding of Princess Diana’s niece, Celia McCorquodale, to George Woodhouse. Meghan wore a long-sleeve wrap-style dress by Oscar De La Renta, paired with Aquazzura heels, a small clutch, and an inexpensive white fascinator from Marks and Spencer.
Express pointed out that Meghan’s flowy gown was reminiscent of an outfit worn by Diana. Although the late princess’ outfit consisted of a Catherine Walker tunic and white trousers, the pattern and neckline were definitely similar. As Meghan was attending the wedding of Diana’s niece and the royal women have been known to copy the people’s princess, it wouldn’t be surprising if this ensemble was indeed a purposeful ode to Harry’s mother.
The dress was also more affordable than many other outfits in Meghan’s wardrobe. As of this writing, Moda Operandi lists the warm weather cocktail dress on its website for $5,490.
Meghan’s first Trooping of the Colour ensemble
In June 2018, Meghan got to attend her very first Trooping of the Colour. Essentially, the event is a way to celebrate the monarch’s birthday. According to Town & Country, the tradition began with King George II in 1748 when he made the decision to combine the annual military march with his birthday celebration. As part of the military march, troops from all of the different regiments would come and display their flags, thus "trooping" their colors. These days, it’s also the only "guaranteed annual appearance" from the royal family. As such, Meghan would be taking to the balcony to greet the public alongside her in-laws.
For such a big event, picking the perfect dress was surely important. Nevertheless, Meghan took a risk when selecting an off-the-shoulder muted pink dress by Carolina Herrera. Meghan paired the short-sleeve dress with a matching Philip Treacy hat. The flattering ensemble put the duchess back by just over $9,000.
Meghan’s GOAT dress
It must’ve been pretty daunting for Meghan to make her first public appearance as the Duchess of Sussex. Yet and still, she did so flawlessly. Her wardrobe choice was especially on point. Meghan’s pale pink spring dress by the British label Goat was well-suited for the garden party she was attending. The fitted dress with sheer long sleeves was also the most inexpensive dress Meghan has worn to date. Coming in at just a dollar under Meghan’s P.A.R.O.S.H. hunter green ensemble, the British-made dress retailed for $643, according to Harper’s Bazaar.
What’s a good dress without accessories though, right? Meghan chose a coordinating pink clutch and another hat by Philip Treacy. Royal expert Katie Nichol explained a possible reason for all of Meghan’s recent pink-hued outfits to Entertainment Tonight, saying, "I think it’s Meghan’s way of choosing a color, but not wanting to upstage anyone. And, it suits her." While all of Meghan’s understated pieces have been great, this one may just be the GOAT.
Outerwear adds up
Harry and Meghan’s relationship became public in late October 2016. As the couple started getting more and more serious, the world also got to see more and more of Meghan. And yes, we all became (rightfully) obsessed with her fashion — especially her amazing coat collection. Mindy Kaling even dubbed Meghan’s outerwear "power coat[s]" so you know they’re truly amazing.
Although Meghan has most definitely wowed us all with her winter style, that style doesn’t exactly come cheap. The Cut ranked Meghan’s best coats, the cost of which varied greatly. From the reasonably priced $298 coat Meghan wore to an International Women’s Day event to the $2,793 tartan-patterned Burberry coat she wore when visiting Scotland, Meghan obviously likes a wide range of outerwear.
Accessories: jewelry, hats, and beyond
As phenomenal as Meghan’s outfits undoubtedly are, they’re made infinitely better with the addition of some fabulous accessories — and People highlighted some of the duchess’ very best ones. As was the case with Meghan’s outerwear, the newest royal likes a wide range of items — from inexpensive hats to thousand-dollar designer bags.
Some of Meghan’s more expensive accessories include a $5,350 Cartier watch and a Mulberry Bayswater bag for $1,350. Meghan’s cheaper items, however, may encompass some of the things you own, like Hunter boots, a Panama hat, and Reeboks — yes, believe it or not, the duchess does own sneakers.
Although the grand total for Meghan’s collection of accessories is upwards of $16,600, at least her fashion stays somewhat accessible by including at least a few pieces that only go as high as double digits. Of course, as Meghan’s styles are incredibly popular, brands have been creating budget-friendly versions of the duchess’ best looks.
A five-figure royal tour
The newest royal couple’s first overseas royal tour called for some fresh looks. Elle broke down the costs of four outfits worn by Meghan during the couple’s brief visit to Dublin, Ireland — and it’s wild. Upon exiting the plane, Meghan was seen wearing a custom sweater and skirt by Givenchy. Although the price of the sweater is unknown, the combination of the skirt, tote bag, heels, and earrings worn already adds up to over $3,700. In the evening, Meghan changed into a bespoke black Emilia Wickstead dress that Express valued at over $2,600. Combined with accessories, the night-time look cost her nearly $9,000.
The next day, Meghan’s earrings alone were worth $12,000, making the total ensemble a whopping $21,000. Later in the afternoon, the duchess suited up in Givenchy for an estimated cost of $6,500. Meghan’s clothing and accessories for the duration of the Ireland adventure were estimated by Elle to cost over $40,000. Whew.
The grand total
As you’ve now realized, being the Duchess of Sussex is not exactly the most affordable gig in the world. From Meghan’s very first outfit for her and Harry’s engagement interview to her two (yes, two) extravagant wedding gowns to all of the components needed for the royal tour of Ireland, Meghan has spent over — drum roll please — $934,000. If that sounds like a lot, brace yourself — it could be even higher.
Royal expert Katie Nichols estimates that Meghan has already spent over a million dollars on her royal wardrobe. As the duchess will continue to take part in royal engagements, this figure is only going to keep increasing.
It’s also worth noting that Meghan’s father-in-law, Prince Charles, provides this six- to seven-figure clothing allowance solely for official royal engagements. This likely means that anything Meghan wants to wear outside of work is her and Harry’s responsibility. While that royally sucks, we’re sure Prince Harry and Meghan Markle can swing it.