Fashionable British types, including Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss and Poppy Delevingne, were treated to a surprise on Monday evening when the Duchess of Sussex made an unexpected appearance at the British Fashion Awards.
A visibly pregnant Meghan Markle cradled her baby bump as she announced the winner of the award for British Womenswear Designer of the Year.
The crowd reacted with obvious enthusiasm when Rosamund Pike announced the duchess would be the evening's special guest. She hadn't been included on the list of presenters, and until she came onstage, the vast majority of the audience clearly didn't know they were in the presence of royalty.
Meghan wore a black one-shoulder Givenchy dress with gold heels by Tamara Mellon, according to People. Her gold bracelets and earrings were by Canadian-born, U.K.-raised designer Pippa Small. Her hair was in a low, sleek bun, and her nails were painted a dark red — a rare choice for a woman in the Royal Family, as they usually favour light shades of pink.
Meghan presented the Womenswear Designer of the Year award to Givenchy's artistic director Clare Waight Keller. Meghan frequently wears Givenchy — she trusted their designs for her first solo outing with the Queen, as well as for the Royal Ascot and Princess Eugenie's wedding. And she has a special relationship with Waight Keller, as well: she designed Meghan's simple, elegant wedding dress.
The duchess gave a sweet, supportive speech before announcing Waight Keller as the award winner.
"As all of you in this room know, we have a deep connection to what we wear," Meghan said. "When we choose to wear a certain designer, we're not just a reflection of their creativity and their vision, but we're also an extension of their values."
She referenced an article she read recently — possibly this one in The Business of Fashion — about how there's been a shift in the fashion industry from how it used to be "cool to be cruel," in the duchess's words, whereas now "it's cool to be kind."
When Waight Keller joined the duchess onstage, she seemed genuinely shocked. "I can't even tell you how surprised I am!" she exclaimed.
The designer gushed about the duchess in her acceptance speech: "I got to know Meghan on such a personal level, and to have someone like that trust you in an incredible moment in their life is something that is just the most unbelievable honour."