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Conservative bore: Why becoming a royal has ruined Meghan Markle’s style

Illustration by Twylamae
Words by Bianca O’Neill

A monarchy of monotony.

I’ve said it before; I just don’t get why people are obsessed with royal style. And don’t @ me with your Princess Diana obsessions – she only dressed well AFTER she left the monarchy. Look it up.

Unfortunately, royal protocol has claimed another style victim in Meghan Markle. The brand new princess – who I held out so much hope to change the royal fashion narrative – has now fallen victim to the tired and tedious mom-dom of ‘dressing appropriately’. And she’s not even a mother yet.

Despite having spent over $285,000 on only 16 designer outfits since she wed, Markle still hasn’t made much of a mark in the style stakes. Yep, that’s a quarter of a million dollars on a bunch of matronly cream pencil skirts that do little to stifle my growing yawn.

So why are people so obsessed with following her fashion choices? Well, to borrow a famous Aussie phrase, they’re dreamin’.

The lure of the outdated and frankly sexist narrative that it is every woman’s dream to marry a prince apparently still holds a lot of sway. It seems that there are many women in the world who would gladly toss aside their agency (fashion or otherwise) in order to have access to the royal purse – and the fame that comes with it.

Before she announced her engagement to Harry, Markle was a fashion risk-taker. She fancied an easy short suit, and clearly had a penchant for a dazzling miniskirt or two. Nowadays you’d have no idea she had such a great set of pins underneath those ankle-grazing sister-wife duds.

There has been more than one comparison to Kate Boring-ton’s snore-worthy make-under – and that spells bad news for Markle’s style hopes. You couldn’t dream up a more robotic sister-in-law than Middleton. She’s perfect in every way, just like a good, obedient Stepford Wife should be.

Poor Meghan has even been put back into place this week for privately expressing an opinion on abortion to an Irish politician, reportedly congratulating them for repealing archaic abortion laws via referendum. As someone who calls herself a feminist, and who has previously spoken strongly on such topics, she has to be struggling with her forced silence on this issue. And, in fact, any issue – royals are not allowed to have any political opinions. On anything.

So then, why in 2018 – in a year when #MeToo was echoed around the world – are we so obsessed by someone who is not allowed to speak for herself? Why are we creating a style icon out of someone who is not even allowed to dress for herself?

Markle doesn’t wake up in the morning and wear what she wants to wear. She has to follow strict, inane rules that dictate her every move. She has to cover her shoulders and wear stockings and only paint her nails in nude. Is that someone we should look to for style inspiration? Someone who politely follows a set of rules dictated to her by a 92-year-old woman?

She has paid the ultimate price for love. A price I’m not sure I could pay myself.

Follow Bianca’s style journey at @_thesecondrow or listen to her latest podcast at @thefashionpodcast.

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