Meghan Markle’s wedding dress designer on pressure to make it ‘perfect’

Call it a job of royal proportions.

Former Givenchy designer Waight Keller was entrusted with creating Meghan Markle’s wedding dress for her nuptials with Prince Harry in 2018, and spoke of the pressure to make it impeccable in a scene from Netflix’s “Harry & Meghan” docuseries.

“Looking at the design of the dress, there were many conversations we had over how you want to present yourself to the world,” Waight Keller said in Episode 4, which dropped Thursday.

“Most of us have a wedding with 70 to 100 people. This was billions of people watching. It has to be flawless, it has to be perfect,” she added.

Waight Keller, who in 2017 became Givenchy’s first female artistic director (she exited the role in 2020, coincidentally just after the Sussexes bid farewell to royal life), designed a simple white silk cady gown with an open bateau neckline, slim three-quarter sleeves, elegant train and six “meticulously placed” seams, according to a palace press release at the time.

Clare Waight Keller
Waight Keller makes an appearance in Episode 4 of Netflix’s “Harry & Meghan.”

Since Markle wanted all 53 countries of the Commonwealth represented in her wedding look, Waight Keller also designed a 5-meter-long silk tulle veil hand-embroidered with the flora from each country, per the palace — along with Wintersweet, which grows on the Kensington Palace grounds, and the California Poppy, in honor of the bride’s birth state.

“I had a very clear vision of what I wanted for the day and what I wanted the dress to look like,” Markle said in an audio recording for Windsor Castle’s “A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex” exhibition in 2018.

“So, what was amazing in working with Clare is that sometimes you’ll find designers try to push you in a different direction, but she just completely respected what I wanted to see for the day, and she wanted to bring that to life for me.”

For her big day, Markle wore a Cartier bracelet and earrings along with Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara, on loan from Queen Elizabeth II; rumors have swirled over the years, however, that the duchess initially had her heart set on a different headpiece.

Meghan Markle wedding tiara
The duchess wore Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara on her wedding day.
Getty Images

“Unconfirmed by the palace — but not denied — we were told that the Queen felt that she had to say ‘no’ to Meghan’s first choice,” royal biographer Robert Lacey wrote in his book “Battle of Brothers,” adding that the duchess had been eyeing “a beautiful emerald headdress that was said ‘to have come from Russia.’”

Her request to wear it, per Lacey, was denied because the tiara had “a sensitive origin” and therefore “scandal attached.”

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