Categories Royal Tour: Australia Royal Tour: Fiji Royal Tour: New Zealand Royal Tour: Tonga

How Meghan Markle Made a Case for Sustainable Fashion on Her Royal Tour

Following Meghan Markle’s debut as part of the British Royal Family, there’s been plenty of discussion around the “Meghan Markle Effect” — that is, the bankability and sustained interest in the Duchess of Sussex’s fashion statements, the power of which was estimated to give the British economy a boost.

While it’s nothing new that royals are looked to as trend setters, Markle is cutting a different kind of fashionable figure from Buckingham Palace.

Since becoming a royal, Markle has demonstrated a keen understanding of how her fashion choices carry significance. Markle’s fashion diplomacy so far has been deft; she’s conscientious in supporting British designers, but also uses her wardrobe choices to pay homage to countries she visits, like Michelle Obama was known for during her time in the White House. Continue reading How Meghan Markle Made a Case for Sustainable Fashion on Her Royal Tour

Categories Royal Tour Royal Tour: Australia Royal Tour: Fiji Royal Tour: New Zealand Royal Tour: Tonga

How always-composed Meghan Markle turned tour Down Under into a triumph for the Commonwealth

Four countries, 16 days, 41 outfit changes and 76 engagements later the Duchess of Sussex passed her first big royal test with flying colours.

No surprise she is now being dubbed The Duchess of Success. Not for her the rictus grin and stilted performance of other royal tours — this was pure Hollywood magic.

It was Meghan’s first international tour with husband Harry since their wedding in May. And she charmed her way through public walkabouts, formal dinners, hugs with kids and formidable speeches.

The pregnant Duchess even baked banana bread for her Aussie hosts and did yoga at 4am when the jet lag kicked in.

The Fijians and Tongans were delighted the royals had come to town, while the Aussies couldn’t get enough of Meghan and the Kiwis went wild, too.

On the tour’s own merits, she did a great job and didn’t put a foot wrong — even more impressive considering she only made her public debut with Harry just over a year ago. Since then Meghan has changed the face of The Firm for ever, and has made Prince Harry incredibly happy.

The Duchess is now very much a Republican’s nightmare; her natural charm and modern approach have set back their cause for a generation.

But it was never a given.

Meghan embarked on this mammoth tour with the dark cloud of her father Thomas Markle’s constant brickbats in the Press. To say he had been a thorn in her side would be the understatement of the year.

I’ve covered these tours for years and while they look like — sometimes literally — a walk in the park, they are anything but. Life under this kind of unrelenting microscope is tough, even for a royal veteran.

Meghan, 37, may well be a seasoned actress and used to meeting and greeting fans, but a royal tour is a completely different gig.

For every single person they meet, that five-second (or shorter) encounter with the young royal superstars is one that will be remembered for ever. So every handshake, every “hello I’m Meghan”, every “so nice to see you today” matters to the thousands of people they met on the tour.

The smile can’t falter, the grip can’t shake and they have to be on form at all times — for 16 days straight.

And it was here that Meghan’s Hollywood training kicked in. The former Suits actress didn’t miss a beat.

Harry often looked grumpy — it was extremely tiring with early starts and up to five engagements each day — and at one particularly long welcome ceremony in Fiji he looked like he wanted to thump someone.

Thankfully, when the red mist descended Meghan, always composed, always smiling, was ready to hold his hand to cheer him up. And it was clear that her extraordinary beauty was the tonic that could lift him out of his darkest mood.

Seeing them together, standing in the rain in Dubbo in Oz — with Meghan shielding Harry from the rain with a giant brolly while her husband made a speech — was a powerful image. Meghan, of course, knows the power of a picture. Right from the start of the tour, she used her wardrobe and jewellery to send substantial messages.

She wore two Aussie designers on Day 1 in Sydney — with her Karen Gee “Blessed” dress showing off the merest hint of a baby bump.

But it was her earrings and bracelet that caught the eye. The butterflies at her ears had belonged to Princess Diana, the bangle too, and showed that Harry’s mum was with them on the journey as they began their own family.

It was a clever piece of signalling — and a respectful inclusion of Diana, who is still hugely popular Down Under — and the crowds loved this glamorous new daughter-in-law.

In Fiji, Meghan had chosen the blue of the Fijian flag for her black-tie dinner gown. Her hosts loved the tribute to their country, which still fondly remembers the Queen and Prince Philip’s visit during the Commonwealth Tour of 1953. The couple had waved to the excited crowds in the island’s capital Suva from the balcony of the Grand Pacific hotel, in an exact replica of Harry’s grandparents 65 years before.

And in Tonga, Meghan stepped off the plane in a red Self-Portrait dress to echo the Tongan flag.
This kind of mirroring is nothing new — and sister-in-law Kate often chooses local designers of the countries she’s visiting. But Meghan carried it off with panache and style.

There were no structured coat-dresses, boxy hats or nude court shoes. This was a working wardrobe for a new working royal, Meghan Markle-style.

Skirts were longer, colours more muted than in her previous life as an actress. She looked the business.

And there was substance, as well as style. She gave three impressive speeches. Kensington Palace had billed her debut as a fully-fledged royal as “a few words”.

It was much more than that at Fiji’s University of the Pacific.

She spoke eloquently about how everyone deserved the opportunity of an education. A speech at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Sydney paid tribute to all the friends and family of those who had been injured in the line of duty.

But the most powerful, and perhaps personal, speech came at Wellington’s Government House on Sunday.

To celebrate 125 years of New Zealand giving women the vote (the first country in the world to do so), the female Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hosted a reception. Keen advocate of women’s rights, Meghan gave the keynote speech: “Women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness. Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents. The basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community.”

It was clear she had written these speeches herself and worded them in her language, not the formal words of a British royal court.

Again, here was that Hollywood sparkle in full effect.

And the message that she delivered — equality for everyone and be the best you can be — struck home.

From Maori kids in New Zealand to Aboriginal girls at a school in Australia, the fact a mixed-race American had been accepted by the royals showed them anything was possible. Time and again I heard that Meghan is a role model for young women. But does this new superstar in the royal firmament pose a threat for those already established? It is perhaps too early to say.

What we know is that Prince Charles adores her and their warm relationship has fostered a renewed closeness between father and son. Meghan views Charles as a new father figure after cutting off her biological one for incessantly speaking out and missing her wedding.

Camilla, too, knows what it’s like marrying into The Firm and has been a source of support. They are content to see Harry and his new wife steal the headlines.

But comparisons with William and Kate are perhaps inevitable.

If Meghan is in danger of eclipsing even Kate, 36 — and certainly in the battle of the evening frocks last week Sussex beat Cambridge — perhaps that explains why the Cambridges and Sussexes are thinking of separating their courts. Currently all the “Fab Four’s” work is handled by one office at Kensington Palace, but William and Harry are thinking of setting up one for each brother and their families next year.

Right now the only cloud for Meghan is her troublesome family.

Dad Thomas, 74, and half-sister Samantha, 53, have frequently offered their views on their new royal relation — much to Meghan’s distress.

It appears she has not spoken to her father since the wedding — and has no plans to do so. He claimed he heard about his daughter’s pregnancy from the radio.

However, her new family will be pleased with all the positive headlines and renewed royal fervour in the four Commonwealth countries.

After all, Harry and Meghan were representing the Queen, and everyone agrees it was a tour de force.

Granny will be delighted.


Categories Royal Tour Royal Tour: Australia Royal Tour: Fiji Royal Tour: New Zealand Royal Tour: Tonga Royal Visit

Meghan Markle Proved She’s Her Own Kind of Royal on Her First Major Tour

In many ways, it seemed like Meghan Markle was entering an impossible situation when she married Prince Harry in May. No matter what she did, she would be seen as an American outsider in the British press, her every move scrutinized to an absurd degree, her every outfit or gesture compared immediately to either that of her new sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, or to any number of the royal women who had come before her. And in her first few months of her Duchess of Sussex-dom, though they went fairly smoothly, Meghan was accused multiple times of “breaking protocol” or committing some nearly invisible “faux pas.” She closed a door on her own! She isn’t wearing a hat when she should be wearing a hat! She shows P.D.A. with Harry!!!!!!

All the while, Meghan—at least publicly—appeared to take it all, even as her father and half sister added additional tabloid drama to the mix, in stride. And on the royal tour she and Harry just completed, a 16-day sprint across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga, Meghan seemed more assured than ever in her brand-new royal role. Just a few months into life as a duchess, and with her first child already on the way, Meghan is turning the role into something very much its own—incorporating aspects of her previous jobs (as actress, advocate and lifestyle blogger) and making it clear she is going to use the platform to speak out about the causes she cares about. Continue reading Meghan Markle Proved She’s Her Own Kind of Royal on Her First Major Tour

Categories Gallery Updates Invictus Games Royal Tour: Australia

Photos & Roundup: October 27 – Royal Visit Australia – Day 12

U.S.A. WINS GOLD: The last day of the Australian programme falls on the final day of the Invictus Games. After having the morning off Their Royal Highnesses spent the afternoon at the wheelchair basketball finals at the Quay Centre. Meghan cheered her native home team on to victory with the U.S. winning 29-17 over the Netherlands team. Meghan presented the medals with Harry with one competitor stealing a kiss on the cheek from Meghan.

UNTIL NEXT TIME: The Closing Ceremony that evening took place at Qudos Bank Arena. The event, at which both The Duke and Duchess will spoke, was full of celebration of the outstanding achievements and inspiring spirit of the Invictus Games competitors. You can watch the closing ceremony at the link below, you don’t want to miss Harry and Meghan’s incredible speeches, but also the performances by Grammy-nominated artist Aloe Blacc and The Kingdom Chior which performed at the couple’s wedding in May.

VIDEOS: Invictus Games: Sydney 2018 Closing Ceremony

Engagements In 2018 > Invictus Games: Sydney > October 27 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 8 – Set 1
Engagements In 2018 > Invictus Games: Sydney > October 27 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 8 – Set 2

Categories Gallery Updates Royal Tour: Australia Royal Tour: Tonga

Photos & Roundup: October 26 – Royal Visit Tonga – Day 11

ARTS AND CRAFTS: The Duke and Duchess visited the St George Building for a call on the Prime Minister S. Akilisi Pohiva and members of the cabinet. From there, Their Royal Highnesses attended an exhibition with The Princess Angelika at the Faonelua Centre, celebrating Tongan handicrafts and products, including traditional mats and ‘tapa’ cloth. Their Royal Highnesses also had the opportunity to meet local Tongan traders and craftsmen.

VIDEOS: Harry And Meghan Meet The PM

FOREST DEDICATION: The Duke and Duchess then traveled to Tupou College, which is the oldest secondary school in the Pacific, founded by a British missionary in 1866. Their Royal Highnesses dedicated two forest reserves at the school’s on-site forest, the Toloa Forest Reserve, the last remaining forest area on Tonga’s main island of Tongatabu, and the Eua National Park Forest Reserve, located at the Island of Eua – to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. The Tupou College Boys’ will perform traditional Tongan music to commemorate the event. From Tupou College, The Duke and Duchess will travel to The Royal Palace for an official farewell with The King before departing for Sydney.

VIDEOS: Harry And Meghan Bid Farewell | Harry And Meghan Sing

AUSTRALIA AGAIN: That evening in Sydney, Their Royal Highnesses attended the Australian Geographic Society Awards, an annual gathering of Australia’s brightest and best in exploration, science and conservation. Their Royal Highnesses will present youth awards to honour the highest achievements in conservation and adventure, and The Duke gave an address.

VIDEOS: Harry And Meghan At Australian Geographic Society Awards

Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 26 |Commonwealth Tour – Day 11 – Set 1
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 26 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 11 – Set 2
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 26 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 11 – Set 3

Categories Gallery Updates Royal Tour: Australia

Photos & Roundup: October 22 – Royal Visit Australia – Day 7

Their Royal Highnesses will travel to Queensland’s Fraser Island, or K’gari as it is known by the Traditional Owners the Butchulla people, as part of the dedication of the site to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC).

Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, and has a total of 206,970 acres of protected forest. Among its many striking features, the Island is characterised by its long beaches, tall rainforest, coastal heaths, freshwater lakes and ever-evolving sand dunes.

ARRIVAL: The Duchess of Sussex arrived to Kingfisher Bay without the Duke of Sussex. The two split at the airport with Prince Harry continuing to carry out the previously scheduled engagements alone. Meghan continued on to the resort for more rest. It was reported that Meghan will return to the full royal tour schedule tomorrow in Fiji as a senior palace aide says she is “feeling refreshed following some rest” and looking forward to the rest of the tour.

KINGFISHER BAY: Harry and Meghan in the afternoon for a walkabout along the picturesque Kingfisher Bay Jetty. The Duke and Duchess stopped numerous times to carry on conversations with the excited locals and receive baby gifts.

Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 22 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 7 – Set 1
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 22 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 7 – Set 2

Categories Gallery Updates Invictus Games Royal Tour: Australia The Royal Foundation

Photos & Roundup: October 21 – Royal Visit Australia – Day 6

Although Meghan was scheduled to attend the Road Cycling event during the Invictus Games, she did not. Multiple royal correspondents on Twitter reported that a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess said:

“After a busy programme, The Duke and Duchess decided to cut back the Duchess’s schedule slightly for the next couple days, ahead of the final week and a half of the tour.”

Harry and Meghan will fly to Fraser Island together as planned, but she may not undertake many engagements in Fraser Island due to the tough terrain. Reports are also clarifying that Meghan is feeling good, just tired as she has said herself for the last few days. It seems the Palace thinks it’s wise for Meghan to pace herself over the next week and a half.

Here at Simply Meghan we wish The Duchess the best and hope she takes all the time she needs to care for herself and her baby. We’ll be sure to keep track of all the latest updates regarding Meghan’s edited schedule, you can also follow us on Twitter @meghanmarkleorg where we retweet all updates.

INVICTUS GAMES: Their Royal Highnesses attended a lunchtime Reception hosted by the Prime Minister, with Invictus Games competitors and representatives from the community in the city’s central parkland, The Domain. The reception was held at the Pavilion restaurant where Harry and Meghan chatted with guests and posed for photos.

VIDEOS: Harry And Meghan Attend Reception

SMOOTH SAILING: Meghan did join Harry to watch the Invictus sailing event. The couple cheered on the competitors and Prince Harry received quite a big bear hug when one very excited Invictus competitor jumped into the boat. You can watch the video below. We just love the relationship Prince Harry has with the men and women of Invictus.

VIDEOS: A Bear Hug For Prince Harry

Engagements In 2018 > Invictus Games: Sydney > October 21 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 2 – Set 1
Engagements In 2018 > Invictus Games: Sydney > October 21 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 2 – Set 2

Categories Gallery Updates Invictus Games Royal Tour: Australia The Royal Foundation

Photos & Roundup: October 20 – Royal Visit Australia – Day 5

Hello everyone! Welcome to Day 5 of Royal Visit Australia! The Invictus Games are here! Itn’t it amazing to think that just last year at the Invictus Games Harry and Meghan were just making their relationship public and now a year later they are not only married but expecting a baby! My, how time does fly!

MEMORIAL SERVICE: The fifth day of Royal Visit Australia started with an embargoed engagement. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex unveiled an Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park. During their visit Harry and Meghan received a tour of the new education and interpretation facilities, viewed the The Hall of Silence, and laid a wreath together. This was a very fitting way to start the day as Prince Harry had a very extensive career in the British Army, and his experiences helped him in his creation of the Invictus Games. Prince Harry looked very dapper in the tropical dress of his regiment, the Blues and Royals, including his new gold aiguillettes. He was appointed personal aide-de-camp to the Queen at the start of the tour.

VIDEOS: ANZAC Memorial Unveiling

INVICTUS GAMES: The Duke and Duchess then traveled by boat to attend the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge on Cockatoo Island. The Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge is a test of skill and precision and is designed to test driving skills, navigational ability, observation and teamwork using Jaguar Land Rover vehicles. The Duke and Duchess made sure that they got to meet with competitors, their families, staff, and volunteers. Prince Harry of course had a go at the mini car driving course for children. Afterwards, The Duke and Duchess handed out the first medals of the game.

VIDEOS: Harry And Meghan Present Medals

OPENING CEREMONY: To start their evening Their Royal Highnesses attended a reception before the Opening Ceremony where they mingled with guests. The Opening Ceremony was delayed for an hour as a thunderstorm rolled through. Luckily, it cleared up, and the rest of the night went on as planned with a crowd of 4,000 attendees including competitors, family and friends, and dignitaries at the Sydney Opera House. Through song, colour and tradition, the Opening Ceremony showcased personal stories of recovery, endurance and rehabilitation, bringing together the rich and diverse cultures and experiences that make up the Invictus Games family. Prince Harry once again gave an uplifting and motivating speech that you can read here.

VIDEOS: Invictus Games: Sydney 2018 Opening Ceremony

Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 20 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 5 – Set 1
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 20 | Invictus Games: Sydney – Day 1 – Set 1
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 20 | Invictus Games: Sydney – Day 1 – Set 2