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Meghan Markle is celebrating her 40th birthday today and during the years she's been in the spotlight, we've seen her go from Hollywood star to a member of the Royal family and back again.
The mum-of-two has always been vocal about what she stands for, fighting for causes including women’s rights and equality, however, when she was introduced into the Royal Family, she was forced to sideline her activism and appear politically neutral.
However, the Duchess of Sussex often found small ways to convey her thoughts – using her style choices to quietly take a stand on issues she was no longer allowed to discuss.
Before she met Prince Harry and became part of the Royal Family, Meghan was seen on multiple red carpets and attending various events in stylish, figure hugging dresses.
As she mixed with celebrities in Hollywood, Meghan was a fan of showing a bit of skin and taking fashion risks such as exaggerated wide leg trousers – this, of course, would be something she would later give up when following the Royal protocols.
As we saw her get engaged to Harry and later become the Duchess of Sussex, the first thing we took note of is how Meghan became fond of plain, tailored silhouettes which abided by dress rules such as skirt length and fit guidelines.
Meghan immediately started opting for clean and classic dresses, smart pencil skirts and elegant blouses.
We’re sure that the new member of the most famous family felt a great deal of pressure, but she handled it in a cool, calm and collected fashion.
To commemorate International Women’s Day in 2019, Meghan attended a panel discussion at King's College London.
To mark the day and the event, the mum-to-be opted for a monochromatic dress by high street brand Reiss, and the bold use of white is said to be a nod to the Suffragette movement.
After giving birth to her and Prince Harry’s son, Archie, on May 6 2019, the happy couple stepped out to show him off to the world.
For the occasion, Meghan wowed in a crisp white double-breasted tuxedo dress by Grace Wales Bonner and the look was completed with nude Monolo Blahnik court heels.
Designer Grace also comes from a biracial family and the occasion is one of many which saw Meghan support and represent designers with similar backgrounds to her own.
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During her history-making interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, Meghan revealed how depressed she became whilst being a part of The Royal Family.
And during the time she was referencing, we started to see Meghan opt for more neutral and darker colours in her outfits as to not stand out in the crowd as much.
In October 2018, she stepped out at the Auckland War Memorial Museum wearing a dark navy Antonio Berardi dress.
Once it was announced that she and Prince Harry would be taking a step back from the Royal duties, Meghan went back to her preferred bold and colourful looks.
For her and Harry's penultimate engagement as members of the Royal Family in March, she went for a defiant, red Safiyaa gown that perfectly matched husband Harry's military uniform – which he would soon lose the right to wear.
Meghan Markle's stunning style evolution from Hollywood to now as she turns 40
Speaking at the time, a stylist told the Express: “Meghan and Harry are making a sartorial bang with their fashion choices.
“Their outfits are complementing each other’s perfectly – it’s a visual display of unity.”
"Meghan is deliberately ensuring her outfit is coordinating with what he's wearing," Susie Hasler continued. “Of all the colours, red is the most impactful to wear as it symbolises power, passion and love. It makes an impact – and that’s what their outfits are doing!”
And since her return to California, Meghan has switched up her style again.
The Giorgio Armani dress she opted to wear for the Oprah interview gave off a very boho LA style, which could have been an indication how she was owning the move from London to Los Angeles, and is choosing a more relaxed lifestyle.
The lotus flower in the floral print signifies rebirth and spiritual enlightenment – which could be another telling sign of how settled and renewed Meghan is feeling since moving back to the States.
Her decision to wear black is also a move that wouldn't have been allowed during here time as Royal, as members of the family do not sport the colour unless there is a period of mourning.
Meghan also showed off her dressed down LA style as she also made a surprise appearance during a VAX Live concert in May 2021 wearing a red floral dress by much-loved designer Carolina Herrera.
During the trailer for Prince Harry’s mental health show on Apple TV+, the Duchess sported a £27 slogan tee which read ‘Raising The Future’, one again demonstrating her empowering personality.
As we witness Meghan enter another new decade in her life, we can’t wait to see how her style continues to transform.
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