Meghan’s Week, Several Engagements Announced & Vote in First ‘Best of 2018’ Poll!

It feels like quite some time since we’ve had a titbit-packed post. They were a staple on Mad About Meghan in the run up to the wedding, and it’s been fun to prepare one today full of upcoming engagements, news on what Meghan’s been up to this week, and articles of note. Before we dive into the latest news, we have our first ‘Best of 2018′ poll focusing on Meghan’s evening gowns during the Sussexes’ Commonwealth Tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.

Best Tour Gown

We’re kicking off the polls with Meghan’s tour gowns. There are just three options on the list. The lengthy tour called for an array of looks including a gown for a State dinner in Fiji. It was the first time we had seen Meghan don a gown since the royal wedding, and she certainly didn’t disappoint in a Fijian blue Safiyaa Ginkgo Cape Dress. The £1,095 gown is described as: “Full-length fitted short sleeve cape dress with a long tailed back with a deep split and covered buttons, all in bluette stretch heavy crepe.” The choice to champion the London-based brand rather than a more established favourite such as Givenchy was praised by fashion critics. Meghan styled the gown with shimmering earrings and Diana’s diamond bracelet.

For an official Tongan dinner, Meghan opted for the effortlessly elegant Theia Ivory Crepe Column Gown. The piece features flanged shoulders, a jewel neckline and side slit. The shoulders are accentuated with hand embroidered appliqués of crystals and micro glass beads. Creative Director Don O’Neill was ecstatic when he discovered Meghan was wearing one of his creations. He apprenticed with Gina Fratini, who produced designs for royal couturier Norman Hartnell and she created pieces for Diana, Princess of Wales. Meghan selected Birks earrings, Diana’s aquamarine ring and black accessories to complete the look.

Although I loved the first two gowns, the fashion highlight of the tour for me came when Meghan arrived at the Australian Geographic Awards in a magical Oscar de la Renta white tulle gown with black bonded, looped ribbon, tweed laser cut birds. According to reporters there was an audible gasp when the couple arrived. The sensational gown not only gets my vote in this poll, but ‘Best Look of 2018’. It was the ultimate fairy-tale fashion moment for the new Duchess. Aquazzurra pumps and Birks rings provided a polished finish.

Meghan’s Private Engagements This Week… Moving on to a plethora of news items next. What has the Duchess been up to this week? On Monday, Meghan welcomed Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern to Kensington Palace. The pair got along wonderfully during the tour. The PM gifted Meghan a pair of earrings which were described as being “for a sister with a brave and bold brave streak”. The Duchess wore them on a number of occasions during the visit. At a reception at the close of the tour, Jacinda said the schedule had increased her “admiration” for Meghan. She said: “It can be a tiring thing and she’s brought such warmth and grace on this visit…it hasn’t slowed her down or the amount they’ve been out and about so that’s much appreciated.” It us understood Meghan invited the PM during the tour. A Palace source told Omid Scobie: “The Duchess was pleased to have the chance to thank the PM for the wonderful hospitality she and Harry received from the people of New Zealand last year.”

It’s excellent to see connections and relationships building. We’re seeing Meghan’s role develop in a stateswoman capacity too. I imagine Jacinda is the first of many leaders we’ll see her meeting with. 

On Wednesday, Harry and Meghan attended the Endeavour Fund judging panel at Kensington Palace. The judging takes place a couple of weeks before the actual awards. Meghan attended both last year (more on that a little bit later in the post).

A Busy Week Ahead… If hoping for several Meghan sightings, next week is one to watch out for. The Palace released a flurry of announcements over the course of the day. As expected, Meghan will visit her remaining patronages next week. On Wednesday, 30 January, the Duchess will visit the National Theatre. Meghan will join a workshop with members of the Pericles company, which was the National Theatre’s first Public Acts production in 2018. Public Acts, which launched last year, creates extraordinary acts of theatre and community. Next, she will meet apprentices who are working as technicians in various departments including carpentry, metalwork and painting. Before leaving, she will watch a performance of War Horse by primary school children.

On Thursday, 31 January, the Duchess will visit her patronage the Association of Commonwealth Universities to hear more about how the ACU is working to promote inclusion and access to education for underrepresented groups, and will speak to students about their research in the fields of sustainability, global health and peace and reconciliation.

The following day, Friday, 1 February, is an ‘away day’ for Harry and Meghan in Bristol. They will first visit Bristol Old Vic. Built in 1766 as a place where the people of Bristol could come together, Bristol Old Vic is the oldest continuously working theatre in the English-speaking world. From there, it’s a walkabout followed by an embargoed engagement. Finally, they will visit Empire Fighting Chance, which aims to fight the impact of deprivation on young people’s lives through boxing.

We discussed Harry and Meghan’s attendance at the Endeavour Fund judging panel. As expected, the couple will attend the annual awards at Draper’s Hall on Thursday, 7th February. They will celebrate the achievements of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women who have taken part in remarkable sporting and adventure challenges over the last year. Below, Meghan in an Alexander McQueen suit for the event last year.
DeMellier Duchesses… For many of us, Meghan’s taste in bags is one of the highlights of her ensembles. Last year, for a pre-wedding visit to Cardiff, she carried a forest green Mini Venice DeMellier London bag. For every bag purchased, the brand funds lifesaving vaccines and treatments aimed to save the life of a child in need, in collaboration with orphan charity SOS Children’s Villages. For a visit to Jewish Care’s Brenner Centre, the Duchess of Cornwall carried the very same style in the same shade. I expect it’s highly possible the bag was a gift. Perhaps Camilla saw Meghan carrying it and remarked she liked it? Or perhaps it’s a Christmas present?

‘By choosing sustainable and ethical labels, the Duchess of Sussex, 37, has had a life-changing impact on a number of brands. Among them: Outland Denim, which Meghan wore the on tour Down Under last fall. After stepping out in their black skinny jeans ($195), sales increased by a whopping 640%. The massive increase enabled founder James Bartle to hire 46 seamstresses in his Cambodian factory – many of whom are either victims of sex trafficking or forced labor.

“The core of our business is about giving opportunity to vulnerable women, and for Meghan to align so closely with that and to expose us to the world, it’s been huge,” Bartle tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

After initially announcing on Instagram that he would be hiring 15-30 new seamstresses as a result of increased sales, that figure has continued to grow. Now, three months since the royal tour (where Meghan wore their Harriet high-rise skinny jeans no less than six times!), 46 families have a brighter future.
“To come from the situation they were in previously to a situation where they are making jeans fit for a princess – that’s a big deal,” says the founder, whose wife, Erica Bartle, also works for the company.’

The Avocado Toast Whisperer… Meghan’s friend and make up artist Daniel Martin visited the Duke and Duchess last weekend. Afterwards, he shared a snap of tea, avocado toast and Fortnum & Mason truffles they had. He wrote: “Back to our Tig days. Thank you Meghan for being the consummate hostess this weekend and still being the Avocado toast whisperer.” Meghan used plates and cups from Soho Home.

Hope you all have a great weekend! 🙂