Two days after American actress Meghan Markle announced that she would be leaving her legal TV drama “Suits” to marry Britain’s Prince Harry, headlines have been abuzz with another illustrious American who left acting to marry into royalty: Grace Kelly.
Born in Philadelphia to athlete parents, Kelly left her Hollywood acting career to become Princess of Monaco in 1956. Both before and after her new royal title, Kelly was known for her regal style made famous by kitten heels, pearls, tailored suits and voluminous dresses.
As Kelly advanced in her career, and then in her newfound princess duties, she went from showcasing the extravagant works of designer friends such as Oleg Cassini and Edith Head on film sets to reinventing her style to include more classic pieces in Monaco. Markle, too, recently started wearing more British designers such as Victoria Beckham, Hunter and Burberry while also adopting classic looks that differ greatly from the glam outfits during time in front of the camera. Earlier this month, Markle announced she’s leaving her TV series.
When it comes to shoes, Kelly has popularized everything from the menswear-inspired Oxford to the dainty kitten heel — always ready to bend the style rules of her day. Here are eight of Kelly’s most iconic shoe and fashion staples, which Markle may soon replicate as she chooses her very own royal style.
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Kelly was frequently photographed in kitten heels, a style that is often embraced by Kate Middleton today. The kitten heel’s combination of comfort and elegance make it a perfect choice when running to and from royal duties both then and now.
When she and Prince Harry stepped out to make their engagement announcement on Monday, Markle wore a pair of Aquazzura strappy heels. Strappy sandals were also a favorite with Kelly, who wore them on the set of many a film, including the classic “To Catch a Thief.”
Pearl necklaces have long been a beloved jewelry choice for royalty, and Kelly was known for her extravagant sets. Prince Harry’s mother, the late Diana, also made headlines for her innovative use of traditional pearl necklaces — often mixing classic pearl chokers with her eveningwear.
The Matching Shoes:
Kelly carried over her love of matching her shoe color with her dress into her new role as the Princess of Monaco. This is a style habit sometimes chosen by Queen Elizabeth II herself.
Long and Short Gloves:
Gloves are an eternal staple of European royalty — Kelly would frequently embrace them after marrying Prince Rainier, just like Kate Middleton and Queen Elizabeth II do today.
The Midi Skirt:
Voluminous mid-length skirts have been a staple in Kelly’s wardrobe and the style achieves the same timeless, elegant look today.
Oxford Shoes and Khakis:
Kelly was one of the first 20th-century actresses to inch elements of menswear into her style. Now considered a staple of classic fashion, Kelly’s wide-leg pants have been considered daring back in her day. Markle has embraced the look and it would be an apt choice to continue in the future.
The Wedding Dress:
As with any royal wedding, many people are anxiously waiting to see the label Markle will pick to design her wedding dress. Kelly wore an intricate lace dress that has been made by MGM costume designer Helen Rose, and it later served as inspiration for many women’s wedding dresses (including the Alexander McQueen design worn by Markle’s future sister-in-law Kate Middleton in 2011).