Meghan Markle made her Trooping the Colour debut on Saturday, and just as she’d been inclined to do before marrying Prince Harry, the new Duchess of Sussex went out of the box by wearing a short-sleeve, off-the-shoulder Carolina Herrera dress.
Kate Middleton has only worn dresses with sleeves that come past her elbow since attending her first Trooping in 2011, and Princess Diana never wore short sleeves to the official celebration of the Queen’s birthday, either.
“Traditionally, the Trooping the Colour events is seen as a more formal day event,” Myka Meier, royal etiquette expert and founder and director of Beaumont Etiquette, tells PEOPLE. “In the past, we have seen female royals wearing conservative dress, much like that which you would see at a British wedding: wearing closed-toe shoes, stockings, hats and dresses or skirts with a modest hemline and with sleeves.”
While Meghan’s ensemble wasn’t traditional, it didn’t technically break the rules.
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“It was deemed by some people to be a bit revealing, but personally I couldn’t see any harm in it,” Joe Little, Majesty managing editor, tells PEOPLE. “She looked great.”
The off-the-shoulder option wouldn’t be permitted at other royal events, though. Off-the-shoulder and strapless dresses aren’t allowed at Royal Ascot, which has a much stricter dress code.
“There are no rules for the birthday parade, but I’m not sure it matters,“ Little continues.
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