Meghan Markle stepped out for a rare red carpet appearance for the premiere of Bob Marley: One Love at the Carib 5 Theatre in Kingston, Jamaica last week and she looked so glamorous.
The Duchess of Sussex, 42, stepped out for a glamorous evening with her husband Prince Harry, 39, wearing a gorgeous strappy black ball gown by Carolina Herrera which she paired with the black ‘J Box’ clutch by Jimmy Choo and the ‘Large 18-carat Gold Hammered Disc Earrings’ by Jennifer Meyer.
But a subtle detail that caught our eye was Meghan’s manicure with an extra special meaning. The royal fashion and beauty choices are shrouded in protocol with a natural look being the order of every day.
This also extends to manicures with it being widely believed that the royal ladies including the late Queen and the Princess of Wales wear Essie’s ‘Ballet Slippers’ – a subtle light pink shade with a high-shine finish and opt for a squoval shape.
It is thought of as the colour that the late Queen Elizabeth encouraged other royal ladies to wear and Meghan is even thought to have worn the timeless shade on her wedding day in 2018.
However, for the ritzy Jamaican event, Meghan flew in the face of royal tradition, opting for a 2000s-inspired French manicure. Meghan rocked a natural base with white tips on a square nail for a look that Mean Girls’ Regina George would be all over.
The square French manicure is the OG of quiet luxury nails and with the noughties resurgence that dominated 2023 showing no signs of slowing down, it is clear the style is here to stay. After all, it probably is the most versatile nail look on the market.
Seriah Leslie, nail technician at Young LDN, says that there is more than just consideration of the visual aesthetic when it comes to Meghan’s choice of nail colour. “Queen Elizabeth was the pioneer for this as her favourites were Essie ‘Ballet Slippers’ and ‘Mademoiselle’. Since Meghan has left her royal duties, we’ve seen her branch out in different new trends from dark nails to now the classic French manicure which symbolises freedom and independence while sharing her own genuine creative flare.”
The manicurist also tells us that “French manicure became popular in the 1970s particularly in on movie sets to eliminate the need to switch out colours between shoots. French manicure is the optimism of classic. The ladies of today switch it up with different colours but the classic white will always be a staple. Square nails are the most natural-looking nail shape and easiest to maintain and look best with Meghan’s slender fingers.”
Merilin Notton, Head of Brand at Mylee tells HELLO!: “The current resurgence with the new Mean Girls movie coming out and the success of the Barbie film has meant that these nostalgic noughties trends have come to the fore once again. Meghan opting for a trend-led look shows that she is led by current trends and has the freedom of expression to do so. Of all the 2000s trends that have come back, this is well-suited in that it still retains the timeless and classic style that has been a signature for Meghan.”
Seriah Leslie tells us how to recreate Meghan’s mani. “Using your favourite sheer pink nail polish applies two thin coats evenly on the nails,” she says. “Use a bright white nail polish [and] use a thin tip of the brush to make a straight line at the edge of the nail.” Her top tip is to start with your non-dominant hand first and the rest will be a breeze!
Meghan has previously rocked an understated manicure that aligns with royal custom showing she’s not afraid to pave her own path when it comes to her beauty rules.
At the Variety Power Of Women event last November, the royal opted for a milky off-white manicure that tied in beautifully with her caramel-coloured dress and quiet luxury updo.
She rocked a similar shade to a visit to the University of Chichester’s Engineering and Technology Park which was a polished take on a natural manicure and kept them shorter than her latest look. Her gold rings and bracelets amplified the glamorous aesthetic.
In 2022 Meghan warmed up her look with a short satin pink look at an Invictus Games Friends and Family reception hosted by the City of The Hague and the Dutch Ministry of Defence at Zuiderpark. She dressed up the manicure with a dainty gold hand chain.
Princess Kate has been known to break from royal tradition when it comes to her nails.
At the traditional Easter Sunday Mattins Service at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle last year, the Princess rocked a ruby red manicure that was a stunning contrast against her cobalt blue dress and her iconic blue sapphire engagement ring.
It may be that Meghan and Kate have individually sought inspiration from their late mother-in-law Princess Diana when it comes to throwing out the royal rulebook on manicures.
The late Princess attended a Gala Evening in aid of Cancer Research at London’s Bridgewater House in 1995 where she notably sported a pillar box red manicure in a fabulous break from tradition that remains a classic to this day.