Meghan Markle may be six months pregnant, but that didn’t stop her from flaunting her bare legs and stylish dark red toenail polish as she continued to flout royal style etiquette at the premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s Totem.
To watch the charity performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London with Prince Harry, 34, on Wednesday evening, the 37-year-old Duchess of Sussex paired her $5,595 Roland Mouret gown with $398 strappy stiletto sandals by Stuart Weitzman that revealed both her pedicure and the scar running down her left foot.
It appeared as though the heel-loving mother-to-be was suffering from a bunion on her opposite foot, and it has been speculated that her mysterious scar is from bunion removal surgery.
Going bare: Meghan Markle, 37, stepped out without hosiery to attend the premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s Totem at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Wednesday with Prince Harry
Heel woes: The royal donned $398 stiletto sandals by Stuart Weitzman that revealed what appeared to be a bunion on her right foot and a mysterious scar on her left
Meghan dazzled in her glittering floor-length that featured a slit in the front that exposed her bare legs. Despite it being mid-January, she shunned hosiery and opted for delicate sandals instead of close-toed heels.
The picture of elegance, the royal accessorized the showstopping number with a bracelet that belonged to Princess Diana and a black satin clutch bag by go-to designer Givenchy.
It marks the third time in a week the royal has gone bare-legged at an official appearance, even though royal convention suggests women should wear hosiery in public.
While there is no formal style rule book, the Queen has made it clear that there is an unwritten protocol that dictates what royal women should wear — and when.
Bucking the tradition: The Duchess of Sussex flouted royal style etiquette with her bare legs. Unspoken royal protocol dictates women should wear hosiery to public engagements
Pedicure: The slit in her gown showed off her deep red toenail polish, which was slightly chipped on one toe
Stunning: Meghan, who is six months pregnant, dazzled in her sparkling floor-length gown
Possible explanation: It has been speculated that the scar on her left foot is from bunion removal surgery
Her Majesty is held in such universal respect that even the most unconventional members of ‘The Firm’ have generally adhered to her fashion guidelines, which favor discretion over vulgarity and practicality over glamour.
The Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Countess of Wessex are never seen without sheer stockings and closed-toe shoes, and even fashion-conscious Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie often comply.
Meanwhile, Meghan’s sister-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge’s legs often have the tell-tale sheen of a pair of nude tights.
Not only did the Duchess of Sussex shun hosiery, but she also flashed deep burgundy toenails when royal style etiquette favors demure nude nail shades.
Added touches: Meghan accessories her dazzling gown with a black satin clutch by Givenchy and a bracelet that once belonged to Princess Diana
Happy husband: Prince Harry, who was dressed in a suit, beamed as he led his radiant wife towards their seats inside the Royal Albert Hall
Meet and greet: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were greeted by representatives from Cirque du Soleil and the prince’s charity, Sentebale
The dark polish, which complemented her midnight blue gown, was slightly chipped, suggesting it may have been from a previous pedicure.
Meghan made waves when she sported opaque dark nail polish to match her dress last month during her surprise appearance at the British Fashion Awards to honor Givenchy’s designer, Clare Waight Keller.
Meghan’s love of sky-high heels has also been well-documented, but it seems as though she may be paying the price for the sake of fashion.
After an eagle-eyed royal blogger noted what looked like a scar on Meghan’s left foot in October, podiatrist Robert Duff told DailyMail.com that the mark may have been from a bunion removal.
What is a bunion?
A bunion is a swelling on the side of the joint where the big toe meets the foot. It commonly develops as a result of wearing ill-fitting shoes or those which cramp the feet.
High heels, which push the weight of the body on to the front of the foot, or extreme points that squeeze the toes together are major offenders.
The shoe rubs against the joint, thickening skin and tissues which gradually swell up into a bunion. Women tend to develop bunions more often than men because of the shoes they wear, and because their ligaments are softer.
A normal foot will have the big toe in line with the long bone leading up to it.
However, many people inherit a foot deformity called Hallux vagus, in which the big toe is angled inwards, causing the joint at the base of the big toe to stick out slightly. This increases the risk of bunions.
Those with jobs involving stress on the feet, such as dancers, waitresses and athletes, face a higher risk.
Surgery is the only way to totally remove a bunion. The growth is removed and the bones are realigned. Recovery can take up to six weeks and involves wearing special supports.
‘On the right foot, there appears to be a bunion and some exostosis, or bony growth,’ he said. ‘Wearing heels excessively can definitely lead to the development of bunions. This may be the cause in Meghan’s case.
‘On the inside of her left foot, there is a potential scar which may be from a bunion removal but it’s difficult to say for sure without a closer look.’
Both Meghan and Harry appeared to be in good spirits at Wednesday night’s performance, which was organized in aid of Sentebale, the prince’s charity that supports children and young people affected by HIV in southern Africa.
The couple met representatives from the charity and Cirque du Soleil, including performers, before taking their seats as guests of honor.
Hard to miss: Speculation that Meghan suffered from bunions swirled after she went barefoot in Rotorua, New Zealand in October
Mysterious mark: Meghan has what looks like a scar running down the side of her left foot, which could be a result of previous bunion removal surgery
Looking back: Meghan appeared to have a large bunion on her left foot in 2013 (left) and 2010 (right)
The event came just hours after Meghan made her first appearance of the day, visiting an animal welfare charity in north London.
The royal once again chose not to wear tights when she met volunteers and beneficiaries at The Mayhew Animal Home in London to learn more about the charity’s work.
Meghan left her legs bare as she stepped out in a $32 H&M dress and $2,577 Armani coat with a pair of sheer stockings, despite the chilly winter weather.
During her visit, Meghan saw first-hand a number of projects run by the charity, designed to improve the lives of animals and people and to better communities in London and internationally.
Doing her own thing: Meghan shunned tights earlier in the day when she met volunteers and beneficiaries at The Mayhew Animal Home in London, despite the chilly weather
Becoming a habit: The Duchess, who is six months pregnant, also opted for no tights when she visited the headquarters of Smart Works in London last week
The Duchess, who is six months pregnant, also opted for no tights when she visited the headquarters of Smart Works in London last week.
Meghan’s decision not to conform has previously been described as a small but significant act of style rebellion.
Celebrity stylist Rochelle White noted it could also be seen as a way to maintain a sense of her own personal style, even as so much has had to change to fit in with royal expectations.
‘I think it’s her trying to stay true to who she is and her personal style,’ Rochelle said. ‘Some people – whether they are in the public eye or not — just might not like tights and that’s okay.’
The stylist also pointed out Meghan’s radiant skin means she can still look polished without wearing tights.
Start of it all: Meghan signaled her non-traditional approach early, shunning tights when she joined Prince Harry, 34, in a photocall to announce their engagement in November 2017
Breaking the rules: Among the most notable bare leg ensembles have been the canary yellow Brandon Maxwell shift dress she wore to the Commonwealth Youth Challenge reception in London in July last year, left, and the green Givenchy number she wore landing in Dublin that same month, right
Royal rebel: Meghan skipped tights when she stepped out in this printed Self Portrait frock for an Invictus Games reception at Australia House, London, in April last year
‘She has amazing skin, which I think helps when wearing the no tight look,’ Rochelle said. ‘I think this helps with her overall look and with legs and skin as good at that, who needs tights.’
Mother-to-be Meghan signaled her non-traditional approach early, shunning tights when she joined Prince Harry, 34, in a Kensington Palace photo call to announce their engagement in November 2017.
While she has donned sheer tights on many occasions since, they have by no means become a typical part of her wardrobe.
Instead, Meghan chooses to flash her toned and polished legs beneath her skirts and dresses — even those that are daringly short by royal standards.
Among the most notable bare leg ensembles have been the canary yellow Brandon Maxwell shift dress she wore to the Commonwealth Youth Challenge reception in London in July last year and the floaty green Self Portrait number she donned for an Invictus Games event in London in April 2018.