meghan-markle

A style guide for Duchess Meghan's royal tour of South Africa

One must dress accordingly

Sophie Hamilton

It only seems like yesterday that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were on in the South Pacific - but a whole lot has happened since then, most importantly the arrival of little Archie Harrison! Now the new parents are preparing to embark on another royal tour – this time to South Africa for two weeks - and we can't wait to see Meghan's outfit choices. The royal chose perfect ensembles in the South Pacific, combining high-end designers with pieces from local artisans (remember that monochrome clutch with her pretty Figue dress she wore in Fiji?) and we're expecting another envy-inducing selection this autumn.

This got us thinking about the style rules the former actress must adhere to on such visits. We're pretty sure mini-skirts and purple hair are a no go. So what is allowed fashion-wise? We asked Lucy Hume, Associate Director of etiquette experts Debrett's, for her view…

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On evening attire…

Lucy told HELLO!: "As far as Debrett’s is aware, there is no official royal family rulebook on dress codes, although it is commonly assumed one exists. Therefore the standard dress codes would apply: white tie and full-length formal evening dresses for any balls or state dinners, lounge suits and cocktail dresses for more informal evening events."

MORE: Loved Meghan's sellout Victoria Beckham bag? You can FINALLY buy one

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On daytime events…

Meghan is a pro at daytime chic, often pairing sleek shirts and blazers with elegant cropped trousers and heels. She loves a classic-yet-modern day dress too. Lucy reveals that the standard dress code for daytime functions on a royal tour is 'smart casual', which suits Meghan perfectly.

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On local culture…

The late Princess Diana, Duchess Kate and now Duchess Meghan have all honoured their host countries through fashion in the past, and we expect to see more of this from the Meghan in South Africa. It's common for royal ladies to match part of their ensemble to the colour of a nation's flag, for instance.

Lucy tells us: "From the Debrett’s perspective, etiquette is an awareness of, and respect for a society’s or cultural group’s set of expectations, therefore, this will no doubt be a key consideration for the Duchess of Sussex when she is preparing for her forthcoming trip." She adds: "Members of the Royal Family may also choose to support designers from their host country as a homage to their culture, something we are increasingly seeing especially amongst the younger members of the family.

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On the climate…

"The weather and activities that she will be participating in whilst there will also be taken into account," says Lucy of Meghan's tour wardrobe. October temperatures in South Africa can range from the late teens the to late twenties, so we expect lots of layering from the new mother.

MORE: A definitive guide to Kate Middleton's style

On unexpected events…

It's royal custom to always travel with a black mourning outfit while on visits abroad, in the case of a death in the family. Meghan will need to include one such outfit in her tour wardrobe to avoid being caught out. Back in 1952 when the Queen's father, George VI died, she was in Kenya on safari with Prince Philip and didn’t have a mourning outfit ready. As a result, she wasn’t allowed to be photographed until a suitable outfit was given to her.

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