Who Copied Who? Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton Cape Dresses Debated by Fans

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Fans of Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle have clashed online over the sisters-in-law’s choice of fashion, following a state banquet at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

During the state visit of President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa to Britain this week, Kate attended the state banquet wearing a dramatic white evening gown with long cape-like floor-length sleeves. With this she wore a glittering tiara formerly worn by Princess Diana and a pearl bracelet once owned by Queen Elizabeth II.

The princess’ outfit has been widely shared online, in the process reopening a debate which has lasted a number of years over whether she was inspired by Meghan Markle’s love of cape dresses or the reverse.

Kate Middleton (L) now Princess of Wales, photographed during the state banquet for the President of South Africa at Buckingham Palace, November 22, 2022. And Meghan Markle (R) now the Duchess of Sussex, photographed at the Mountbatten Music Festival, March 7, 2020. Both royals have worn a number of glamorous cape dresses in recent years.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images/Karwai Tang/WireImage

Meghan is a dedicated wearer of elegant cape dress designs which she debuted as a working royal during her first overseas tour of the South Pacific in 2018.

From there on she wore the style in a number of variations, from day to eveningwear. Most recently the duchess wore a black mid-length cape dress during the state funeral commemorations for Queen Elizabeth.

Alternatively, Kate too has displayed a fondness for cape elements in her fashions for a number of years. During a February 2018 official visit to Norway, before Meghan’s marriage to Prince Harry in May of that year, Kate wore a statement chiffon cape dress while she was pregnant with Prince Louis.

One of the princess’ most notable cape dresses was the glittering Jenny Packham gold design worn to the premiere of the 2021 James Bond movie No Time To Die.

A number of Twitter users voiced their belief that Kate has been increasingly inspired by Meghan’s style in recent months, with others defending the princess’ intuitive dress sense.

One reaction to the state banquet gown read: “Not saying Kate never copies but some of it is Meghan is fashion forward and wears looks earlier in their cycle. Kate waits until a look has been around long enough to not be a trend.”

Another posted the response: “Quite opposite. Kate is the one who copies Meghan.”

“The Princess of Wales didn’t copy a look from 2 years ago. Capes are not copyrighted towards one person nor are a unique or rare feature in gowns,” was the reaction of a further commenter.

Despite this discourse, none of the cape dress designs worn by either royal in recent years bears strong aesthetic similarities to one another.

Here, Newsweek takes a look at a collection of Kate and Meghan’s show-stopping cape dress moments.

Kate’s Maternity Cape Dress, February 1, 2018

Kate Middleton Cape Dress in Norway
Kate Middleton photographed with King Harold of Norway (L) at the the Royal Palace in Oslo, February 1, 2018. And (R) with Prince William.
LISE AASERUD/NTB Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images/Chris Jackson – Pool/Getty Images

During an official visit to Norway with Prince William in 2018 while she was expecting her third child, Prince Louis, Kate put a regal spin on maternity fashion by wearing a chiffon caped gown by the design house responsible for her wedding dress, Alexander McQueen.

Meghan’s Fijian Blue Cape Dress, October 23, 2018

Meghan Markle Fiji Visit Cape Dress
Meghan Markle photographed with Prince Harry on an official visit to Fiji, October 23, 2018.
Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

During her first official royal tour, Meghan attended a formal dinner in Fiji wearing an elegant caped floor-length evening gown from the design brand Safiyaa. The gown’s color was a nod to her host nation, in a striking shade of Fijian blue.

Meghan in Christian Dior Drapery, February 24, 2019

Meghan Markle Morocco Cape Dress
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry photographed at an evening reception during their official visit to Morocco, February 24, 2019.
Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

During a trip to Morocco with Prince Harry in 2019, a heavily pregnant Meghan attended a formal reception at the British ambassadorial residence. For the occasion the duchess wore an haute couture Christian Dior caped kaftan with matching gold accessories.

Meghan at the Mountbatten Music Festival, March 7, 2020

Meghan Markle Mountbatten Music Festival Cape Dress
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry photographed at the Royal Albert Hall attending the Mountbatten Music Festival, March 7, 2020.
Karwai Tang/WireImage

For one of her final engagements before stepping down as a full-time working royal and moving to the U.S. with Prince Harry in 2020, Meghan attended the Mountbatten Music Festival in London wearing a statement red caped dress by Safiyaa, the same brand that made her Fijian gown two years before.

Kate’s Bond Girl Glamour, September 28, 2021

Kate Middleton James Bond Cape Dress
Kate Middleton photographed attending the James Bond “No Time To Die” premiere at the Royal Albert Hall, September 28, 2021.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images/Karwai Tang/WireImage

One of Kate Middleton’s most recent celebrated statement style moments came during the premiere of the James Bond movie, No Time To Die. For the occasion the princess wore a shimmering gold embroidered gown by the designer Jenny Packham which incorporated an elegant train falling from structured shoulders.

Meghan’s Mourning Dress, September 19, 2022

Meghan Markle Queen's Funeral Cape Dress
Meghan Markle photographed at Westminster Abbey following the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, September 19, 2022.
Karwai Tang/WireImage

In a mark of respect to the late Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan wore a sombre black mid-length dress with modest cape element to attend the monarch’s funeral this September. The dress was designed by Stella McCartney, and the duchess also owns it in a navy blue variation.

Kate State Banquet Statement, November 22, 2022

Kate Middleton State Banquet Cape Dress
Kate Middleton photographed at Buckingham Palace, November 22, 2022.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Kate’s outfit for the state banquet held at Buckingham Palace in honor of the president of South Africa comprised a Jenny Packham embellished evening gown with dramatic floor length sleeves falling from the shoulders.

The princess paired the dress with matching white satin accessories and heritage royal diamond and pearl jewels, many of which had been worn by Princess Diana.

Newsweek contacted Kensington Palace and representatives of Meghan Markle for comment.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email royals@newsweek.com. We’d love to hear from you.

Who Copied Who? Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton Cape Dresses Debated by Fans

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