The Special Meaning Behind Meghan Markle's Royal Rewear to Meet Nelson Mandela's Widow

The Duchess of Sussex has recycled many dresses from her closet during the 10-day tour of Africa

Meghan Markle has recycled many of her favorite pieces during her royal tour of Africa, but she chose an especially meaningful dress to meet Nelson Mandela’s widow.

After wearing a white shirtdress for the first stop of the day, visiting a township near Johannesburg to meet inspiring local youth entrepreneurs with Prince Harry, Meghan pulled an outfit change before they headed to see Graça Machel. The Duchess of Sussex sported her NONIE Trench Dress, which she previously wore to another event celebrating Mandela — in July 2018, she debuted the ensemble at an exhibition marking the centenary of the South African anti-apartheid revolutionary’s birth.

The royal mom styled the dress nearly exactly the same — with beige heels and her hair tied back into a low, loose bun.

Nina Kharey, Founder & Creative Director of NONIE, tells PEOPLE: “I’m honored she chose to wear the sleeveless trench dress again and it’s amazing to know she keeps this piece in her closet as a staple. She styled the garment very similar to the first appearance, looking effortlessly chic for her last day in South Africa!”

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
Samir Hussein/WireImage; Chris Jackson-Pool/Getty
<a href="" data-inlink="true">Prince Harry</a>, Duke of Sussex; Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and Graca Machel. Chris Jackson-Pool/Getty Images

After Meghan wore the dress in July 2018, Kharey told PEOPLE that she was aware that theDuchess of Sussex had a few of her pieces in her wardrobe, but that didn’t make it any less exciting to see Meghan in her design.

“She looked amazing! It’s so surreal — I couldn’t believe it was mine. I had to keep double checking,” Kharey said. “It’s definitely a good feeling, especially when someone wears it so well. And she’s such a positive woman.”

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex; Graca Machel
Meghan Markle and Graca Machel. Chris Jackson-Pool/Getty Images

The woman behind the Canadian brand (Meghan lived in Toronto for a few years while working on the show Suits) added that the Duchess of Sussex styled the $825 dress from the brand’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection “perfectly” with a coordinating clutch and heels, simple stud earrings and her signature messy bun.

The Duke & Duchess of Sussex Visit The Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition
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Nelson Mandela Centenary Launch, Southbank Centre, London, UK - 17 Jul 2018
David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock

Meghan, 38, has recycled many pieces from her closet during the 10-day tour of Africa, including a number of dresses she wore last year during the couple’s visit to Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.

During their first day in South Africa, the royal mom arrived at the District Six Museum wearing a sky blue dress featuring a wrap waist and button details down the front that she debuted during the couple’s visit to Tonga’s Tupou College in Oct. 2018. Meghan also rewore a striped maxi dress by Martin Grant that she previously sported during a barefoot visit to Bondi Beach.

Meghan Duchess of Sussex
Meghan Markle. Karwai Tang/WireImage; Tim Rooke/Shutterstock
<a href="" data-inlink="true">Meghan Markle</a>
Samir Hussein/WireImage; Mirrorpix / MEGA

And during her surprise Skype to chat with the women at the Nalikule College of Education in Malawi, Africa, the Duchess of Sussex wore the same short-sleeve khaki green V-neck linen midi dress she wore back in July, when she took baby Archie out to cheer on Prince Harry at the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day.

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Meghan Markle</a> dress
Meghan Markle. Sussex Royals/Instagram; Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

The frock, by Lisa Marie Fernandez, retails for $595 and is designed for a loose fit. It comes with a tie belt to cinch in at the waist if needed, though Meghan appeared to leave it open on Sunday, as she had done when she first wore it.

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