Meghan Markle always looks like a million bucks. We mean that quite literally: Since she and Prince Harry announced their engagement last November, the now Duchess of Sussex has spent well into seven figures on her wardrobe. So where did all that money go? Let’s get into it.
How much has Meghan Markle spent on her clothing so far?
It’s a figure so staggering it’s worth revisiting. According to estimates — based on totalling up the approximated or stated retail values of everything she’s been seen wearing since November 2017 — the number is hovering around the $1.5 million mark. On her and Harry’s official visit to Ireland this spring, for instance, Markle wore over $52,000 worth of fashion in just two days.
But where does all that money go?
The majority of Markle’s expenditure this year went toward her two wedding dresses: That Givenchy ceremony dress is thought to have cost around $330,000 and her Stella McCartney dress (or the capsule collection’s 46 replicas released after the wedding, at least) sold for $5,800. That’s a bargain compared to the $93,000 she spent on the Ralph & Russo frock she wore for some of her engagement shoot. Add in a $6,500 Oscar de la Renta dress to a wedding here, a $5,000 bespoke Carolina Herrera frock to a Trooping the Colour there, and well, you get to that million mark pretty quickly.
Does this include jewelry and accessories?
Yes, and when you have a taste for Cartier and Birks et al., things can get pricey fast.
Does markle spend more than Kate Middleton does on clothes?
Yes. Middleton has built a rep as a woman who loves a high street bargain, and well, Markle is not. That’s not to say Middleton doesn’t splash her cash — ahem, all that custom McQueen — but she is also just as likely to be spotted in brands like Topshop and Zara as her beloved Dolce & Gabbana. For comparison: Middleton spent (just!) $200,000 on clothes in 2017. It’s worth noting that while Markle has yet to repeat a full outfit, she’s in the “building” phase of her royal wardrobe and we expect that, like Middleton, we’ll start seeing some old favourites reappear as the years go on. She’ll no doubt get that cost-per-wear on her favourite Aquazzura pumps (several pairs all in the $700 range) down in no time.
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Has Markle been gifted any of these items?
No! We can say this with absolute certainty because titled royals are forbidden from accepting gifts that can be used “for commercial gain.” Clothing falls under this category because of “the Meghan Effect.” If the Duchess is photographed wearing a brand’s gifted clothing, that’s basically free marketing for them. This will be a departure from Markle’s celebrity days, when she no doubt grew accustomed to brands giving or loaning her various pieces. Designers do reportedly still send Markle (and Middleton) items but she will pay for the ones she likes, and send the rejects back.
Does Markle pay for her own clothes then?
Yes and no. While Markle (as a former TV star who made $50,000 per episode of Suits) has deep pockets of her own, and Harry has money of his own inherited from his mother, they both receive money every year from Prince Charles to support their activities as working royals. According to official records, in 2017-2018, Prince Charles divvied up $8.3 million between Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Markle. But this money is only for official royal duties. What they wear on their downtime is on their own dime. Example: That (recently restocked!) $348 Club Monaco dress Markle wore to a wedding in early August.
So Prince Charles gives her a clothing allowance?
There’s no exact breakdown of how this money is spent, but it does go toward things like travel on official royal trips, and yes, what the royals wear on these official engagements on behalf of Her Majesty.
What’s the most expensive thing Markle has worn so far (other than the wedding dresses)?
Since the majority of Markle’s custom haute couture pieces are one-offs, we’re just guessing here but it’s likely the white bespoke Givenchy dress she wore to the Ascot, which is estimated to cost approximately $13,000. The caped dress, also Givenchy, that she wore to her first solo engagement with the Queen would also be in a similar ballpark. But can you put a price on Audrey-Hepburn chic, really?
What’s the cheapest item markle has worn?
That honour goes to the $60 plain white tee by British brand Lavender Hill that she wore while on her trip to Ireland. Of course, it was tucked into a black Givenchy pantsuit, which sells for $4,300. It’s called balance, guys.