Is Meghan Markle a miserable royal?0:44
The new Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, is reported to be struggling with the pressures of the Royal Family.
Here are some things you could spend $33,690 on. Three first class tickets from Sydney to London, 546 bottles of Veuve Clicquot or two outfits if your name happens to have appeared both on the credits for Deal or No Deal AND an official royal crest.
Yesterday was Commonwealth Day (I’m sure we all celebrated … right?), an event that means a number of senior royals head out on charm offensives to member countries’ embassies to try and impress upon them how delightful it would be if they didn’t do anything naughty like becoming republics.
The Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry had not one but two stops on their agenda: First the Canadian Embassy to jolt their blood sugar levels by tasting wodges of taffy and then off to Westminster Abbey for a church service alongside the Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
For both outings, Meghan donned some lovely new designer duds. First up, she wore a green embroidered Erdem wool dress and coat that is believed to have cost about $16,800. Secondly, for the church service, she opted for a bespoke outfit from Victoria Beckham said to have a similar $16,000 price tag.
Holy moly. That is a whole lot of cash for a couple of frocks she only had on for a measly few hours.
(Kate by contrast recycled a red Catherine Walker coat for the church service which I’m betting would have gotten the tick of approval from both the very frugal Her Maj and Marie Kondo.)
This is not the first time the LA-born royal’s clothing bill has raised eyebrows.
Earlier this year it was reported that Meghan spent about $703,000 on clothes during her first year as a working royal — and that does not include her stunner of a Givenchy wedding dress which was estimated to cost between $500,000 and $600,000.
Royal fashion blog UFO No More analysed the spending habits of 14 of Europe’s leading female royals and revealed earlier this year that Meghan spent more than any other Princess on clothing — and by far. (Fun fact: Our Mary, aka Crown Princess Mary of Denmark came in second. Onya Maz!)
Kate, by contrast, spent a far more modest $120,000 on her wardrobe in 2018. (No word on how much Prince George’s wardrobe cost — those wee shorts and knee socks don’t come cheap.)
While Prince Charles pays for the attire of his sons and their wives (using the tens of millions he makes from his Duchy of Cornwall — those oatcakes must really fly off the shelves), it is hard to get away from the fact that the amount Meghan spent is extortionate.
Yes, being a working royal means trotting along to open, say, a new municipal turning circle or recycling plant and that means you need to wear something fancy. Jeans and a nice top just won’t quite suffice when your visit has meant fractious schoolchildren and a sweating mayor have been standing in the snow for three hours awaiting your arrival.
However, $703,000 for a slew of benign knee-length dresses and coats in 50 shades of beige is something I just can’t quite wrap my head around. Consider this: Right now, there is a cupboard in Kensington Palace that is stuffed with boxes whose contents are worth about the same as a two or three-bedroom apartment in Sydney.
On some level I get it. When you start a new job, you want to make a good impression and look snazzy (though for most of us that just means springing for a new Zara blazer). And to be fair, Meghan has looked pretty darn fabulous over the last 12 months.
That said, her serious penchant for Givenchy and other haute couture designers is a wee bit of a worry, both in terms of image and because poor Charles can sell only so many organic sausages and ginger snaps.
Being royal means balancing the need to be stylish with the mandatory proviso you don’t look like a spendthrift while doing it.
And if Meghan needs some guidance in this area, I have just the gal for her. She lives in Copenhagen and met her hottie husband in a Sydney bar during the Olympics.
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and freelance writer. Continue the conversation @DanielaElser