Megxit anniversary: the 8 looks which show Meghan's year of transformation

It is a year since The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their 'Megxit' plans

Meghan and Harry at the Mountbatten Festival of Music, the last time the Prince wore his military uniform
Meghan and Harry at the Mountbatten Festival of Music on March 7 2020, the last time the Prince wore his military uniform in public Credit: Reuters

Today marks one year since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their intention to carve out new roles for themselves outside the Royal family. Quite what this meant at the time, we weren’t sure (messages were mixed) but in the past twelve months, Meghan and Harry have transformed their lives by moving to California and signing  lucrative commercial deals with the likes of Netflix and Spotify, as well as speaking out against racism and working on the launch of their foundation, Archewell. 

This dramatic life change has, naturally, been reflected in Meghan’s (and, to some extent Harry’s) style. In almost two years of Duchess-life, Meghan reimagined many of the old royal fashion rules, experimenting with new ways of doing wardrobe diplomacy and introducing fresh ideas such as wearing vintage, showing support for your famous friends (hello, blazer from Serena Williams’ eponymous fashion line), or flying the flag for eco style. 

Since January 8 2020, the Duchess’s year of transformation has been reflected in her fashion… here’s how:

The calm before the storm

Meghan and Harry visit Canada House Credit: Geoff Pugh

Strictly speaking, this came before Harry and Meghan dropped their bombshell announcement. But only just. On January 7, the couple visited Canada House in London to thank the country for its hospitality during the extended break they had just taken there. 

Dressed in 50 shades of brown - including a Reiss coat and Massimo Dutti skirt - the Duchess’s look reminded us of some of the royal fashion traditions she had routinely eschewed, like opting for modern, sleek neutrals over bright colours. It was a quintessentially Meghan look, cleverly sourced from the high street and giving little hint at what was to come. 

The turquoise history-making moment

Meghan and Harry attend the Endeavour Awards Credit: Getty

Fast forward to March and two months of fractious headlines and family dramas later, the Sussexes were back in Britain for their final hurrah as senior royals. A flurry of engagements over five days was a chance for the couple to say goodbye in style. In Finding Freedom, the account of Meghan and Harry’s relationship, authors Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie write that Meghan  and her make-up artist Daniel Martin had planned for her to ‘go out with a bang’.

They began at the Endeavour Fund Awards, which honours injured military veterans who have taken on sporting challenges and adventure. Meghan opted for a bright turquoise sheath dress by Victoria Beckham, one of her favourite designers. That striking, optimistic hue became a vital ingredient in the star image of the night which captured Meghan and Harry beneath an umbrella, beaming at one another as rain sparkled behind them.

The ‘revenge red’ gown

Harry and Meghan arrive at the Mountbatten Festival of Music Credit: Getty

One of the key sore points of the Sussexes’ exit deal from The Firm has been that Harry is unable to continue his military roles. So his last engagement wearing his Royal Marines ceremonial uniform was bound to be a poignant one. 

At the Mountbatten Festival of Music, Meghan matched her husband in a vibrant red gown by London based demi-couture label Safiyaa. Adding crimson accessories to match, she complimented her husband’s mess dress. With the knowledge that this would the last time Harry was seen in a uniform which meant so much to him, his wife’s look read as passionate and celebratory. 

The ‘green for go’ 

Meghan's final royal dressing moment at the Commonwealth Service in March Credit: PA

The Sussexes’ final royal engagement came at the Commonwealth Service, which they attended alongside senior members of the royal family. If tensions were running high, then Meghan’s grass green Emilia Wickstead ensemble had a head-held-high feel to it. 

As its caped back fluttered in the wind outside Westminster Abbey, the Duchess looked ready to fly away (which she really did a few hours later) while the matching green lining of Harry’s suit projected a couple united in their bid for a new life. 

The shorts and shirt

Meghan volunteers at Baby2Baby Credit: PA

And breathe! Several months and a global pandemic later, one of the next outfits we saw from Meghan couldn’t have been further from that regal formality. 

On a day volunteering for the charity Baby2Baby in LA, Meghan wore casual khaki shorts, a loose linen shirt and Adidas Stan Smith trainers. Gone was any concern for polish and protocol, in its place was a happy, laid back new mood which couldn’t have been read more clearly as the Duchess’s new easygoing style direction. 

The Gloria Steinhem glam

Meghan Markle and Gloria Steinhem discuss female empowerment

By late August, Harry and Meghan were settled into their new home in Santa Barbara and the Duchess was honing her new California vibe.

Interviewing Gloria Steinhem in her garden, Meghan wore striped trousers by Los Angeles label Anine Bing, a straw hat by another Los Angeles designer Janessa Leoné, and a pair of British designer Stella McCartney’s Rhea sandals. 

It’s just the kind of modern, Insta-tasteful aesthetic which Meghan wore in her pre-royal life but that big hat and wide-legged trousers cleverly reflect Steinhem’s ‘70s heyday.

The fashion message

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex mark the start of the UK's Black History Month Credit: PA

Meghan and Harry’s departure from the royal family hasn’t meant that she has been any less reluctant to use her fashion to send thoughtful messages. When the Duke and Duchess took part in a Zoom call to mark the beginning of Black History month in the UK, Meghan imbued her outfits with meaning, choosing a top by Haiti-born, New York-raised designer Victor Glemaud for the appearance. 

Its fashion-forward, slashed neckline demonstrated that the Duchess is unafraid to experiment with edgier looks while the choice of label showed inclusivity - one of the key causes which Meghan and Harry hope to promote in their new life - in action. 

Remembrance formal

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a private visit to the Los Angeles National Cemetery on Remembrance Sunday Credit: PA

In November, Harry’s request to have a wreath laid on his behalf at the Cenotaph was denied. Instead, he and Meghan paid their respects at the Los Angeles National Cemetry. 

Although Meghan wore her hair long and loose with no hat (a contrast to the dress code back in London), she did emulate the formal black look which she might have chosen had she and Harry remained in The Firm.

In a black coat dress by American design Brandon Maxwell, Meghan could have been ready for a royal engagement. It was a decision which showed just how pivotal fashion choices are - this may not have been an official royal event, but Meghan and Harry made it look like one in their own way.