Among the various claims to come from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Netflix documentary – now the streaming service’s most watched ever – was Markle’s assertion that household staff advised her against wearing the same colour as other royals.
“You can’t ever wear the same colour as Her Majesty, if there’s a group event,” said Markle. “But then you also should never be wearing the same colour as one of the other more senior members of the family.”
That episode aired last week. On Thursday evening, multiple royals attended their Together at Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey – in conspicuously matching burgundy.
Kate Middleton wore the colour head-to-toe: earrings from Accessorize, a v-necked coat from Eponine, and Gianvito Rossi heels – and carried gloves and a clutch bag in the same tone. Her daughter, Princess Charlotte, sister, Pippa and cousin-in-law, Zara, were all dressed in similar-hued coats. Princess Charlotte’s wool coat with Peter Pan collar is from Trotters Heritage and almost soon to be sold out. Prince William and Mike Tindall completed the reddish-purple set. As collective rebuttals go, it was a bold one.
Burgundy is a colour long associated with the European upper classes and wealth. Though named after the wine region in France (which itself was named after the Burgundians, a German tribe), the French often refer to the colour in relation to that other wine region: Bordeaux. The shade worn by the royals, however, isn’t the traditional burgundy, but its newer relative, “viva magenta”.
Pantone, the colour bible for designers, has named viva magenta as its forthcoming Colour of the Year, describing it as “audacious, full of wit, and inclusive of all” – and it apparently “vibrates with vim and vigour”.
If there’s a message the royals are desperate to convey in the wake of Meghan and Harry’s claims of ostracism – and the recent racist remarks of Lady Susan Hussey – it’s “inclusive of all”. The “vim and vigour”, meanwhile, might speak to The Firm’s attempts to modernise and emphasise the younger generations – though, in truth, it was the late Queen who dressed most vibrantly, under the guidance of her long-time dresser, Angela Kelly.
It’s unlikely that the Wales’, Tindalls’ and Middleton’s collaborative sartorial effort was coincidental. Perhaps there should have been a last-minute tweak to the title of the concert: Together at Christmas in Burgundy.