Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are two of the most fashionable women in the world. They have been praised for their polished and classy looks and have even made several best-dressed lists.
Another royal who is known for her sense of style is their grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II. Fans are used to seeing the monarch in bright colors every time she steps out in public. But did you know there’s a specific reason for her bold color choices and that affects what colors Meghan and Kate cannot wear around her?
Why Queen Elizabeth always wears bright colors
The reason Queen Elizabeth is always seen wearing such bright and loud colors is so fans can spot her amongst a crowd.
“She needs to stand out for people to be able to say ‘I saw the queen,’” her daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex revealed in the 2017 documentary The Queen at 90. “Don’t forget that when she turns up somewhere, the crowds are two, three, four, 10, 15 deep, and someone wants to be able to say they saw a bit of the queen’s hat as she went past.”
Over the years, we’ve seen the duchesses wear vibrant colors during royal engagements. In fact, you may remember that for Meghan’s last engagement in the U.K. on Commonwealth Day she donned an emerald green ensemble while Kate opted for a deep red dress. But whenever appearing alongside the queen for a specific event, the women must avoid wearing any colors that would take attention away from the monarch.
Etiquette expert William Hanson spoke to Harper’s Bazaar about what the duchesses wear when they are on duty with the queen or attend an event in her honor.
“During the 2012 Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, the queen wore white, so she stood out against the red furnishings of the royal barge, whereas the Duchess of Cambridge wore red, making her almost disappear and not pull focus from the real star of the show,” he explained.
Megan’s days of performing royal duties are behind her now but after marrying Prince Harry she quickly caught on to the unwritten rule and wore muted colors during engagements with the queen so it never looked like she was trying to upstage her.
“The Duchess of Sussex [showed] great consideration by wearing more neutral colors and tones when on duty with Her Majesty as it allows the queen to take center stage and top billing, as is only right,” Hanson said.
The 1 color the duchesses refuse to wear
While Kate and Meghan have donned plenty of different colors when they’re not accompanying the queen anywhere, there is one shade they have never worn in public.
The duchesses do not wear orange. Kate did come close twice. One time she was spotted wearing peach and another time she was pictured in a blood-orange coat, but the latter number was more of a red tone. Meghan meanwhile has steered clear of the shade altogether.
According to The Express, “There is no royal fashion rule preventing the [women] from sporting the vibrant hue, but it is believed orange does not photograph as well as other colors.”