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How the Royals Mourned the Queen in Fashion—Kate Middleton to Meghan Markle

Aug 22, 2023Aug 22, 2023

When Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022, Britain and many parts of the world mourned the monarch who had reigned for the longest period of any other sovereign in British history.

In the following days, the new King Charles announced that he and his family would begin observing a period of "royal mourning," a period which lasted until seven days after the queen's state funeral.

Though the parameters for royal mourning were not released, one clear and visible sign that this was being observed from the public's point of view was that the female members of the family wore black as a mark of respect.

Throughout the ten days of national mourning (the time between the queen's death and her state funeral) and the remaining seven days afterwards, members of the royal family such as Kate Middleton, the newly appointed Princess of Wales, Meghan Markle and the new Queen Camilla became identifiable symbols of dignity and duty during key events.

Here, Newsweek looks at how the royal ladies of the House of Windsor dressed during the mourning period through a series of powerful images captured at the time.

The first public appearance made by Kate and Meghan following the news of the queen's death was to view floral tributes, together with their husbands, outside the gates of Windsor Castle.

For their first appearance side-by-side since Prince Harry and Meghan stepped down from their working roles within the royal family and moved to the U.S. in 2020, both Meghan and Kate appeared in simple black shift dresses with scoop necklines and below-knee-length skirts.

Meghan's dress was clean and simple, with Kate's embellished only with a thin belt of black velvet. No details about the designers of the royals' mourning clothing were publicly released but it is believed that Kate's dress was made by designer Jenny Packham.

Following the queen's death at her Scottish home of Balmoral Castle, her body lay in state in the capital of Edinburgh before making its final journey to London. After resting at Buckingham Palace overnight, the queen's body was taken to Westminster Hall where it lay-in-state for four days to allow members of the public to pay their respects.

On the journey from the palace to Westminster, members of the royal family marched the processional route behind the coffin, this was marked with a small service at Westminster Hall attended by all senior members of the royal family.

For the occasion Meghan, Kate, Camilla and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, among others, wore their black ensembles with matching hats.

Meghan and Kate opted for structured coats and hats with veils, a nod to the tradition of royal mourning dress.

With their ensembles the sisters-in-law wore jewelry with links to the late queen. Kate wore earrings and a brooch made of diamonds and pearls which had been loaned to her by the queen. Meghan wore the diamond and pearl earrings that the monarch gave her on their first solo engagement together in 2018.

With the death of Elizabeth, her son Charles became King Charles III and by extent his wife assumed the elevated title of Queen Consort which had been approved in February by her mother-in-law.

The new Queen Camilla accompanied her husband on a number of events throughout the mourning period including his accession council and tours of the nations making up the United Kingdom, in addition to the lying-in-state and funeral ceremonies.

During their first visit to Wales as king and queen, Camilla wore a striking black suit with sculpted buttons and a wide-brimmed black hat. In tribute to the nation, Camilla also wore a small brooch shaped like a leek, the national heraldic symbol of Wales.

Three days before the queen's state funeral—which saw hundreds of foreign heads of state and government officials converge on London—William and Kate paid a visit to the military personnel who were drafted to help marshal crowds and take part in the ceremonial proceedings.

For this military engagement, Kate wore a simple black custom coat dress designed to echo armed forces uniforms which was first worn on Remembrance Sunday in 2019.

The princess wore it with a small black felt hat and earrings which had previously been worn by the queen.

The eyes of the world watched as Britain threw an unparalleled ceremonial farewell to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, September 19, which began with a state funeral in London and closed with a private family service at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle later that night.

The ladies of the House of Windsor all attended the proceedings wearing variations of black day dresses with matching hats. Princess Charlotte, aged 7, was a standout figure, paying her respects to her great-grandmother alongside older brother Prince George, 9.

For the historic day, Meghan wore a black day dress with a dramatic incorporated cape from British designer Stella McCartney and a statement black hat.

Kate wore one of her trademark coat dresses, sharply tailored with cross-over lapels, complimented by a picture hat with tie net veil covering her face. She also wore three heritage jewels belonging to the late queen: a pearl choker necklace with diamond clasp, a diamond and pearl bracelet and diamond and pearl earrings.

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