All The Times Royals Went Daring In Strapless Outfits


As a non-working member of the British royal family, the style rules that govern other royal ladies need not apply to Meghan Markle. That’s likely why the Duchess of Sussex stepped out during her recent New York trip in a daring strapless jumpsuit. Other royal ladies have also bared their shoulders in the name of fashion, but there’s one key difference that keeps them royal style protocol compliant. 

Meghan Markle Rocks Daring Strapless Jumpsuit

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited New York City last week so the Duke of Sussex could give a speech to the UN on Mandela Day. After the emotional speech, which drew praise from some and critiques from one of Harry’s frequent and vocal critics, the Sussexes went out to eat at one of New York City’s finest restaurants, Locanda Verde. The Tribeca hotspot is owned by Chef Andrew Carmellini. 

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Likely as a nod to the trendy locale, Markle wore a gorgeous black and white strapless jumpsuit. The outfit, a Gabriela Hearst design, was accessorized with a pair of black stilettos and a red clutch that added a needed pop of color to the largely monochromatic ensemble. By royal standards, this isn’t an outfit that would fit within the strict confines of the style rules royal women are governed by. 

Queen Elizabeth, unofficially, has several style rules that royal women are expected to follow when making public appearances. The guiding factor behind these rules is an adherence to a conservative, modest appearance. Therefore, royal ladies are encouraged to avoid bare shoulders or other revealing outfits. 

That being said, all rules are made to be broken, even the rule against baring your shoulders in public. As working royals, these ladies came close to skirting the rules but made a small concession to stay just on the other side of that line. 

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Princess Diana: The Blueprint

Princess Diana smiling and walking outside in a black dress
(Photo by Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)

Princess Diana, the rebel that she was, was the first and likely most prominent person to break this particular rule. Her iconic “revenge dress” proved that the LBD was the undefeated way to make a statement and look great doing it. 

In order to avoid breaking the no strapless dress rule, Diana’s gown came with sleeves that left her shoulders bare, but wrapped around her upper arm. Technically, she was still adhering to the rules and this was the model that other ladies would turn to again and again decades later.

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Princess Beatrice: Breaker Of Norms

Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie walking outside on a brick road
(Photo by Raul Sifuentes/Getty Images)

In 2018, sisters and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie traveled to Lima, Peru to attend a wedding. While both lovely ladies chose dresses with floral patterns, older sister Beatrice drew a few raised eyebrows with her daring outfit. Like her late aunt, Beatrice stayed within the rules, just barely, with her off-the-shoulder sleeves. 

With arms like her’s, it’s no wonder that Kate Middleton often chooses to rock an off-the-shoulder gown, particularly when she’s attending red carpet events. Nothing says glitz and glams like a little trip to the gun show, eh Duchess? 

Kate Middleton: Queen Of Off-The-Shoulder Gowns

Kate Middleton (L) in black gown standing next to Prince William on a red carpet
(Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas- WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Middleton’s style has been closely observed ever since she was first romantically linked to Prince William while the two were still attending college together. When it comes to the red carpet, it’s hard to find another royal woman who compares, though her sister-in-law Meghan Markle put up some fierce competition in her pre-royal days. 

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Kate Middleton smirking in bright red dress
(Photo by Matthias Nareyek – Pool/Getty Images)

One of our favorite under-the-radar photos of Middleton came during a 2017 visit to Germany. During one stop, Middleton put on this gorgeous little red number that’s a little daring, a little playful, and utterly beautiful on the duchess. 

Kate Middleton smiling in longsleeved white dress
(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Another dress we’d deeply love to snatch right out of Middleton’s closet is this slinky white ribbed number. With the zipper sitting cheekily on the front and the way it hugs Middleton’s every curve, this isn’t the sort of gown we expected from the royal, but she made it work and we’ll always envy her for it.  

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A Close Resemblance Between Outfits

Prince William (L) in classic black suit and bowtie standing next to Kate Middleton who is dressed in a black gown
(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Most recently, Middleton caused a few dropped jaws when she attended the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick in London alongside her husband and movie star Tom Cruise. The dress she wore bears a remarkable resemblance to Markle’s jumpsuit, with one key difference: the sleeves. Middleton had them added on custom to the gown as a nod to the queen’s style guide. 

Both ensembles are effortlessly chic and worn with an impressive confidence that’s the ultimate accessory. With a little bit of daring, both Markle and Middleton proved that modern fashion isn’t off-limits, even if you’re a duchess. 

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