Meghan Markle arrived fashionably late to the 2023 Invictus Games in Dusseldorf, Germany on Tuesday evening. She joined her husband Prince Harry who has been in attendance since Monday, to host a family and friends event at Düsseldorf Airport.
According to Markle’s aides, the 41-year-old had just an hour to get ready for the event, having flown in via a brief layover at Heathrow. They also shared that she was wearing Banana Republic, a black pleated midi shirt dress to be exact (currently selling for half price at $70 in the US). Cue the famous Markle Sparkle effect.
The former Suits star finished her look with a second-hand Bottega Veneta belt, a pair of previously worn Aquazzura Purist pumps (£565) and diamond earrings. It rings strongly of the sentiment that Sex and The City’s Sam Jones, the fictional PR mogul, once told her client and boyfriend, Smith Jared when he tried to wear jeans and an unbranded T-shirt on MTV: “If you’re not wearing something the kids can’t afford, how will they know to look up to you?”
Demonstrating how affable she is, Markle also wore a coloured bracelet given to her by a member of the Canadian team.
Her aides also informed the press that Markle hadn’t used hair and makeup professionals, and instead did it herself. Her glam was glossy and understated like the rest of the look: a shiny, bouncy blow-dry and glowy skin with a smoky eye. Her usual team, celebrity hairstylist George Northwood and American make-up artist Daniel Martin (who is responsible for her wedding day beauty look) are both busy, working with other clients at Vogue World and holidaying in Mexico respectively. Though perhaps Megs just wanted to do it herself for this more relaxed event. She did only have an hour, after all.
Markle’s speech was also relatable, as she apologised for being “late to the party” due to getting the couple’s two children, Archie and Lilibet, settled. “Just like so many of you this is about family and friends and the community that Invictus has created, that Fisher House has created, so I just had to spend a little bit more time at home getting our little ones settled, getting milkshakes, doing school drop off, and then I landed a couple of hours ago,” she told a crowd of 1,600 guests.
On her first full day in attendance, Markle accompanied her husband to a basketball game in a white J. Crew blazer with navy trim, tailored Staud shorts and another tried and tested designer accessory; her toe-cap Chanel sling-backs.
The Games are a significant event in the calendar of the couple, with the Toronto Invictus Games in 2017 having marked the pair’s first public appearance together. And given their schedule of official appearances has significantly reduced since they retired as working royals in 2020, the 2023 Games are a prime opportunity for Markle to flex her sartorial muscles and show her affiliation with brands.
At last year’s games Markle wore her signature formula of smart neutrals in labels like Khaite, Celine and Valentino. While this year, Markle has so far made a case for the high street and high-end hybrid, which should serve to endear her to fans.
Markle is no stranger to mixing affordable pieces with designer, previously wearing & Other Stories, Marks & Spencer and Reiss to events. Though now she’s living in California, it makes sense that she has pulled pieces from shops you’d see in US malls.
Indeed, the in-flight look Markle wore on her way to Germany included another J. Crew item; a navy cashmere sweater. Though the rest of her airport look is estimated to be worth £32,000. Quiet luxury to the max.
Alongside the navy V-neck, Markle wore nautical style Ulla Johnson Polina trousers (£620), a super-luxe Goyard Bellechasse Biaude PM bag (which sells for nearly £2,500 on Sotheby’s), with a Hermès Brides de Gala scarf ($1,225) peeking out. Finishing her jet-set outfit were Valentino Garavani Roman Stud Flat Mules (a repeat wear), Celine Triomphe sunglasses (£370) and a Janessa Leone Michon hat ($267), with her signature Cartier bracelets and Tank Française watch pushing the total value up to heady heights, retailing at over £26,000 collectively.
Whether Markle will keep pulling out more affordable pieces or lean into the stealth wealth trend for the rest of her husband’s event remains to be seen. For now, prepare to see the Banana Republic pleat dress and preppy J. Crew sweaters on a street near you.