Now that Miss Markle is officially ‘royal’ (her new title is: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex), you can be sure that the eyes of the world will continue to follow her every move, her every outfit; and definitely every bag she wears. She’s already become a fashion force to be reckoned with, with designers chomping at the bit for the chance to have one of their items worn by this new goddess of style.
Meghan already has a very clear signature style that I'm absolutely loving; lots of neutral colours: beige, navy, black and brown; wrap coats and wide-legged trousers. And as far as her handbags go, she seems to favour top handle bags as well as fashionable cross-body ones.
Easy carry choices seem to be Meghan’s preference, these allow her hands to remain free for ‘touchy feely’ meet and greets with the masses. Kate Middleton on the other hand is more a fan of the clutch bag, and generally considered less ‘hands on’ than Meghan has shown herself to be so far.
It’s said that clutches are generally preferred by members of the Royal Family as they serve as a good ‘excuse’ to avoid shaking hundreds of hands. Let’s face it, the Royal aides carry all their belongings, so there really is no need for them to carry a bag.
Above: Meghan Markle in her signature look, sporting a Altuzarra Ghianda Leather Shoulder Bag.
Meghan’s current preferences may also come down to the duties she has undertaken to date. However, as her duties start to encompass more formal events, we may see the size of Meghan's bags decrease to clutches. Clutches are a better match for more formal dress codes.
Meghan’s Choices So Far.
We’ve been impressed with Meghan's handbag choices – a mix of well-known designers (including Jimmy Choo, Chloe, Roland Mouret, Mulberry, Prada and Gucci); and a number of (until now), little known handbag designers/manufacturers who no doubt are singing ‘God Save The Queen’ as their bank balances sparkle thanks to Markle (sorry, just couldn’t help myself).
So I thought I’d share some of my favourite, lesser known, bags that Meghan has worn to so far.
A name now on everyone’s lips, after Meghan sported one of their beauties on her first official visit with Prince Harry. This company is based in Edinburgh and was founded in 2013. Handcrafted in Spain, their signature is the bar closure that each bag features.
Above: The Strathberry Tri-Colour Nano Tote and with signature bar closure.
The Strathberry worn on that first official visit was their Tote bag and sold out immediately. Then Meghan delivered for the company again, wearing their gorgeous East/West cross body bag. Again, sold out. If you check out the exact bag that Meghan wore on their website, you’ll see a special ‘note’ on there: ‘This product is available for pre-order and will not be shipped until mid-July 2018’. The owners of Strathberry would most certainly have been cheers-ing Meghan and Harry’s nuptials (that's if they had a spare minute to do so in between managing the mountain of orders!).
Above: The Strathberry East/West Mini Cross Body in Bottle Green.
2. Charlotte Elizabeth.
Above: The Charlotte Elizabeth Bloomsbury as worn by Meghan Markle.
While on a trip to Northern Ireland with Prince Harry, Meghan carried an elegant top-handle leather handbag by Charlotte Elizabeth. A British company through and through (located in the North of the UK), Charlotte Elizabeth was virtually unknown, until now. Hides are sourced from a local tannery and then shipped to their factory in Buckinghamshire where the designer, Charlotte’s, ideas come to life.
Above: Charlotte Jones, founder of Charlotte Elizabeth.
Charlotte Jone’s story is incredible; and her age, just 21, is only the start.
Jones is a graduate of the Prince's Trust Enterprise programme. The organization was founded by Prince Charles in 1976 to support disadvantaged youth in the U.K.— specifically, 11- to 30-year-olds who struggle with homelessness, health, or legal issues.
In a blog post on the Trust’s website, Jones explained how she had to drop out of school at 16 due to illness. She underwent a variety of surgeries and diagnoses, and was stuck down with paralysis for a year. According to Jones: "I had a heart operation in 2012 and I had to leave school at 16 because of it. I couldn't get A Levels or go to Uni, and it was hard to find employment because of my physical health conditions."
Despite her health issues, and despite the fact that she had no formal drawing or design training; and no industry experience, Jones had a vision to create a handbag brand. In 2014, when she was 19, Charlotte attended a four-day Prince's Trust course to learn more about setting up a business, but two weeks later she suddenly became paralysed - she couldn't even speak, let alone draw.
Above: The now famous Bloomsbury by Charlotte Elizabeth.
As Jones recalls: "I suddenly just collapsed. I had had flu-like symptoms for nine months before, but had been told everything was fine. I had a heart arrhythmia that was never supposed to come back after my heart operation, so it was a freak episode. I collapsed and basically lost all muscle ability within seconds. I remember gripping onto my sister's hands and I genuinely thought I was dying. I lost all ability to talk, I was shaking constantly and had gone so pale. When I went to hospital they thought I had had a heart attack or a stroke, which was obviously terrifying to hear at the age of 19. Then I was discharged and told I had anxiety, and finally after a tough battle I was diagnosed a year later with postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTs) and following on from that I was diagnosed with ME” (Myalgic encephalomyelitis, also referred to as chronic fatigue syndrome).
As you can imagine, this left Jones feeling confused and desperate; which led to anxiety and depression. Jones battled on, and remarkably, just two years after her paralysis, she launched her first handbag collection. And now her first design, the Bloomsbury, is a worldwide sell-out; due to her perseverance (and bit of help from Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex).
Above: Meghan Markle (pre-wedding) wears the Charlottel Elizabeth Bloomsbury bag.
But like any great success story, this designer’s incredible belief and 'never give up' attitude in the face of adversity is what led to her to this moment. Well done Miss Jones and congratulations! I absolutely love your story, and completely adore your bags.
3. DeMellier London.
For her first official visit to Wales, Meghan wore a forest green DeMellier Mini Venice bag. The little pop of green was just perfect with her all black attire… and thanks to the outing and ‘the Markle effect’, yet another well deserving British company is now firmly on the lust worthy handbag list.
Above: Meghan Markle sports The Mini Venice by DeMellier London.
Founder of DeMellier, Mireia Llusia-Lindh, explains the company philosophy: “I have always been a perfectionist and never liked no as an answer, even if it has often meant taking the hardest route. I was born to a businessman father and a creative mother, and spent the first 30 years of my life listening to my business side. When my first daughter was born, I felt a creative urge... I wanted to design but in a new way, create products that women would treasure but that would also empower them and others... I embarked on a mission to create handbags with no compromises... beautiful and of the highest quality but also functional and attainable, as well as socially conscious. So DeMellier was born, named as a tribute to my family’s heritage and the fusion of old and new. All our handbags are handcrafted in the south of Spain by local artisans using the finest Italian and Spanish materials... For every bag purchased we fund a set of lifesaving vaccines and treatments aimed to save the life of a child in need through A Bag, A Life, our permanent charity initiative that is very close to my heart and core to our DNA.”
Above: DeMellier London founder, Mireia Llusia-Lindh.
We’re so excited to introduce you to this fabulous handbag brand (if you don’t already know it); and again, a big thanks to the Duchess for putting it on our radar.
And all of this got me thinking. Isn’t it incredible that in this day and age, it takes just one person (albeit a super high profile one) to change the course of so many other lives?
I’m not a Royalist nor a Monarch – I sit firmly on the fence of that debate; but I will say that right now I’m feeling the love for the Royal Family. The amount of goodwill, positive energy and excitement that they’ve fostered in recent times is something we can all do with in our lives. I know the memories of the time when we say, “I remember where I was when Meghan and Harry got married”, will be precious, and will no doubt bring smiles to the faces of billions for decades to come.
I think of how wonderful it was for my 9 year old daughter to stay up and watch ‘the wedding’, and I know It’ll be with smiles and joy that she recalls that special moment in her life in the future.
As far as I’m concerned, anything that brings mass and long-lasting positivity into our lives in this tumultuous time is well worth celebrating. Here's to you Meghan and Harry - cheers!