Royal Wedding Dress Designer Speaks Out on That 'Ultimate Surprise' from Meghan Markle Last Night

Clare Waight Keller was clearly stunned to see her pal when Meghan strolled out onstage to announce the woman behind her wedding gown won the award for British Womenswear Designer of the Year

Meghan Markle‘s surprise appearance at the British Fashion Awards on Monday night wasn’t just a shock to the audience!

Clare Waight Keller, the artistic director of Givenchy who was behind Meghan’s fairy tale wedding dress, was clearly stunned to see her pal when the Duchess of Sussex strolled out onstage to announce Waight Keller won the award for British Womenswear Designer of the Year.

“The ultimate surprise – the very special moment that I discovered #meghanmarkle #duchessofsussex was going to give me the award for Womenswear Designer of the Year,” the designer captioned a photo of the moment on Instagram. “Such an extraordinary moment of emotion and love for this amazing woman who changed my life 🖤 thank you.”

The Fashion Awards 2018 In Partnership With Swarovski - Show
Joe Maher/BFC/Getty Images
The Fashion Awards 2018 In Partnership With Swarovski - Show
Tristan Fewings/BFC/Getty Images

After actress Rosamund Pike read the names of the award’s finalists, she introduced her “special guest,” and the royal mom-to-be appeared in a black one-shoulder dress by Givenchy.

Meghan, 37, described Waight Keller as a “British designer leading on the global stage with vision and creativity, but also with incredible kindness,” before announcing her the winner of the honor and sharing a huge hug.

The Fashion Awards 2018 In Partnership With Swarovski - Show
Meghan Markle. Joe Maher/BFC/Getty Images
The Fashion Awards 2018 In Partnership With Swarovski - Show
Meghan Markle and actress Rosamund Pike. John Phillips/BFC/Getty Images

Turns out that Waight Keller and Meghan had just seen each other – when the royal was fitted for the dress she wore to the occasion!

“I’m not jok­ing, it was a com­plete and gen­uine sur­prise. I re­ally did not know she was com­ing tonight at all!” Waight Keller told Grazia. “I was ac­tu­ally fit­ting her for the dress last week and she said, ‘Oh, I’m go­ing to this thing next week, I think it’s Mon­day or Tues­day night, I have to check my cal­en­dar.’ I just did not think any­thing of it. Then she walked in!”

While accepting her award, Waight Keller thanked Meghan for trusting her to design the gown for her big day.

“I got to know Meghan on such a personal level,” the British designer said. “To have someone like that trust you in an incredible moment in their life is something that is just the most unbelievable honor. I can’t thank you enough because it was the most beautiful moment.”


The stunning silk gown that Meghan wore for her May wedding to Prince Harry featured an open bateau neckline and sculpted waist. The train flowed in soft round folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple silk organza.

The process was “very collaborative,” Waight Keller said in an interview the day after the wedding, adding that Meghan was familiar with her work.

“It was a wonderful way to start the collaboration with her, finding out what she wanted for her day and just to find the absolute perfect style for her,” Waight Keller said. “Part of it was really a conversation in the beginning and then through a series of sketches that I proposed to her. We exchanged conversations about what would be the ultimate lines and proportions and the scale of the dress.”

She continued, “But over time we quickly got to a point where she knew exactly what she wanted, having tried some of mock-ups that I had shown her. And then it evolved into the final design.”

The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Ceremony, St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Berkshire, UK - 19 May 2018

Waight Keller says that the woman in the dress is exactly what she appears to be: a confident, kind person.

“She is just exactly what you see on TV,” the designer said. “She is just so genuine and warm and radiant. She is just glowing. And she’s a strong woman. She knows what she wants.”

She added, “Really, it was an absolute joy working with her.”

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