Does Meghan Markle Get to Keep Her Royal Wardrobe—and Wedding Dress?
The Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry have said they intend to become "financially independent." Does this mean they have to return their royally-funded big-day ensembles?
While many questions remain unanswered since the couple made their surprise announcement on Wednesday, one thing is certain: Meghan's couture wedding dress is hers for keeps.
The Givenchy silk organza dress featuring the label's signature bateau neckline was exhibited at Windsor Castle in October 2018. As part of the A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex exhibit, curator Caroline de Guitaut told PEOPLE that where the dress would be stored post-exhibition would be Meghan's decision alone: "It's up to the Duchess, obviously, as it's hers—so she'll be deciding about that."
As for the rest of her wardrobe, which includes pieces from high-end designers such as Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Erdem and Oscar de la Renta, Meghan will likely get to keep everything that has been purchased for royal engagements so far. But whether or not those purchases continue to be funded by Prince Harry's father, Prince Charles remains to be seen.
At the moment, Meghan, like Kate Middleton, receives a clothing budget from Charles via his Duchy of Cornwall income of approximately $28 million. But with Harry and Meghan's intention of being financially independent, it's unclear who will be billed for her designer wardrobe going forward.
For the couple's official engagement pictures in December 2017, Meghan chose to wear a black tulle gown by high-end label Ralph & Russo, a brand also worn by Beyoncé and Angelina Jolie. Featuring a sheer top with elaborate gold embroidery and a full-length ruffled skirt, the couture dress was reported to have cost $75,000.
While Meghan seems to have scaled back the cost of her wardrobe in recent weeks, wearing more budget-friendly labels like Reiss and Massumi Dutti, it's been reported that her clothing budget in 2019 was around $124,000, debuting 169 new pieces, with an average piece of clothing costing $992.
While the couple have said that they are going to split their time between the U.K and North America, they have recently enjoyed a six-week break in Canada over the Christmas period, a country Meghan lived for more than seven years. Whether or not Harry and Meghan decide to make Canada their permanent home, the royal mom is sure to continue being loyal to their designers.
Since Meghan's very first official engagement as Harry's fiancée, when she stepped out in a chic white wrap coat by Canadian brand Line The Label, Meghan has worn several labels from the place she once called home. Brands such as Sentaler, Nonie and Smythe have all experienced the "Meghan Markle effect," as have Birks, the Montréal-based jeweler whose snowflake diamond earrings Meghan has worn several times, cost $12,000.