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34 Times Meghan Markle and Princess Diana Basically Wore the Same Outfit

Some of their outfits are almost identical!

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Fit for a princess—and a duchess

There’s style, and then there’s royal style. Princess Diana had it in spades, and so does Meghan Markle, the daughter-in-law she never met. But a love of fashion isn’t all we’re talking about here—we’re talking about very similar fashion choices and sometimes almost the exact same fashion choices. Whether it was intentional or not, Meghan seems to have been inspired by the People’s Princess, and the results are stunning. We can’t wait to see how her style evolves even more now that she’s stepping back from official royal life with Prince Harry and Archie. Speaking of which, here’s exactly what it means to “step back” from royal duties.

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Somber ensembles

Back on Remembrance Day in 1993, Diana, Princess of Wales looked equal parts sad and stylish in dignified mourning clothes. More than a quarter of a century later, Diana’s daughter-in-law, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, wore not only a near-identical outfit but also a near-identical expression. Did you know that members of the royal family must always travel with mourning clothes… just in case?

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Bright purple

Purple is a color that has long been associated with royalty, and it’s also the color of the Queen’s coronation robe from 1953. Yet it’s not very often that we see a member of the British royal family clad in this rich hue. Both Diana, in 1990, and Meghan make an exception in purple dresses that almost appear to be cut from the same cloth.

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Silky, shimmery maternity dresses

When Diana was pregnant with her firstborn, Prince William, she wore this ice-blue silk gown to the Royal Tournament in London. When Meghan was pregnant with her firstborn son, Archie Harrison, she wore a shiny blush-colored silk dress to Prince Charles’ 50th anniversary of his investiture as Prince of Wales. How did they accessorize? With a gorgeous pregnancy glow, of course. Believe it or not, Meghan Markle had to follow these 14 royal pregnancy rules when she was pregnant.

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Lace overlay

At the Gala Performance of the opera La Boheme in 1993, Diana leveraged lace overlay to make a simple shift dress look spectacular. In 2013, before Meghan had even met her future husband, she was rocking a similar look for a fundraising gala for the Novak Djokovic Foundation. Here are some “facts” about Princess Diana that just aren’t true.

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Lace over one eye

Princess Diana was famous for her hats. Meghan has not yet earned the same reputation for stellar millinery choices, but she certainly seems to be channeling her late mother-in-law circa 1983 in this lovely deep blue velvet hat that has lace dipping over just one eye. She wore it in 2019 at the Westminster Abbey Field of Remembrance opening.

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Suitably subtle in beige

Diana possessed attention-drawing style, and it was apparent even when she wore something as inconspicuous as this beige pantsuit while going for a post-lunch stroll with Prince William. Meghan, by contrast, has adopted a less fashion-forward style, yet in this belted beige dress, which she wore to visit the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, she stands out every bit as much as Diana did.

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Sneaker style

Meghan wore sneakers for the first time during an official royal appearance at the 2016 Invictus games. She’s been seen wearing sneakers a number of times since, including here at the airport in 2019, when she selected a pair of dark-colored trainers. Diana also favored dark-colored trainers for the airport. She wore this pair of dark blue Supergas back in 1997. By the way, this is what your favorite shoes say about your personality.

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Motorcycle jacket

One sartorial lesson Meghan clearly learned from her late mother-in-law is that just because you’re a member of the royal family, it doesn’t mean you can’t rock the occasional motorcycle jacket. Meghan wore one for the opening of the 2017 Invictus Games, and it’s not hard to see where her inspiration comes from: Diana in 1993, wearing the bomber style that was favored then.

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Slicked-back hair

One of Diana’s most iconic looks was chicly slicked-back hair, which she’s sporting in this picture on a trip to New York in 1995. Meghan seems to be taking her cue from Diana at the 2019 Lion King Premiere in London, which she attended two months after Archie was born. Check out these 20 stunning, rarely seen photos of Princess Diana.

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A smart pair of shorts

In 1989, Princess Diana wore shorts and a cricket sweater to visit Prince William’s school. While that particular style of shorts has since gone out of style, Meghan adopted an updated smart-shorts look for herself in 2016 on a trip to Los Angeles. Speaking of shorts, this is why Prince George almost always wears shorts.

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Frothy white confections

Although she wasn’t yet dating her prince, perhaps Meghan took her inspiration for this frothy white dress from Diana. Meghan wore it in 2013 to an event in New York, while Diana donned a similar look on a 1996 visit to Washington, D.C. Check out Meghan’s stunning transformation since becoming a royal.

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Purple and red in the same outfit

When the Duchess of Sussex wore a purple dress with a red coat on a 2019 visit to Birkenhead, U.K., she was lauded for her fashion-savvy choice. But those in the know realize that she may have gotten a little inspiration from Princess Diana, who wore the red/purple combo back in 1989 on a visit to Hong Kong.

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Perfectly coordinated elbow-length gloves

In another daring fashion choice, Princess Diana paired one black elbow-length glove with one red one to coordinate cleverly with her black and red drop-waist gown. She chose the look for the 1986 premiere of the film The Mission. Perhaps taking a page from Diana’s lookbook, albeit in a slightly less daring (and less ’80s) way, Meghan paired her cobalt-blue cape and fascinator with matching cobalt-blue leather gloves for the 2019 Trooping the Colour ceremony. Let’s take a trip down Trooping the Colour lane, shall we? These vintage photos of the Queen’s annual parade take us all the way back to 1899.

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Shape-accentuating peplums

The peplum (a short skirt-like flounce of fabric attached to the waist of a woman’s blouse, skirt, dress, or jacket) first became popular during the mid–19th century. They’ve reappeared throughout the years, including in the 1940s and in the 1980s, when Princess Diana wore this peplum-adorned white suit. Judging by this 2018 photo of Meghan Markle at the 2018 Invictus games, the Duchess of Sussex likewise seems to have gotten the memo that a peplum is a flattering way for a woman to accentuate her waist and hips. Check out 15 of Diana’s most iconic fashion moments.

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White Coats

Everyone will remember the famous white coat that Meghan Markle wore when she and Prince Harry announced their engagement. Back in 1996, Princess Diana sported a similar piece. Don’t forget to check out these times that Kate Middleton and Princess Diana basically wore the same outfit, too.

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Off the shoulder

Many people were shocked to see Meghan Markle wearing an off-the-shoulder gown at this year’s Trooping the Colour, but she wasn’t breaking royal protocol. In fact, Princess Diana wore a similar pink, off-the-shoulder dress back in 1987.

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Button-down dresses

Even though Princess Diana chose to wear a hat, she looks almost identical to Meghan Markle. Both dresses are cream-colored, have buttons down the front, and a belt at the waist. This is the one royal fashion rule you’ll never see a British royal break

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Black and white

Meghan Markle and Princess Diana both chose to dress in classic colors for the Royal Ascot horse race. Princess Diana wore a black and white dress with a hat to match back in 1985; Meghan wore almost the same outfit in June of 2018.

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Weekend clothes

It’s rare that you see the royals out in jeans, but both Meghan and Diana have been photographed in jeans and a collared white button-down. These are the dress code rules everyone in the royal family must follow.

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White with blue flowers

Meghan Markle wore a blue and white flowy gown to the wedding of Celia McCorquodale that probably reminded you of a dress Princess Diana wore in November 1986.

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Black suits

Meghan and Diana are two royal family members that know how to look gorgeous in a well-fitted black suit. Queen Elizabeth likes to wear slightly brighter colors, though. This is the real reason you see her in neon outfits all the time.

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Green prints

Princess Diana and Meghan Markle pop in these green patterned dresses. Meghan is pictured here at the Invictus Games Reception and Diana on a royal tour in Saudi Arabia.

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Stripes, stripes, stripes

Both Meghan and Diana sported the stripe look at two different occasions. Meghan Markle wore a striped button-down dress at the Commonwealth Youth Forum in April. Princess Diana wore a similar striped dress on a tour in Australia in 1988. Read about the most bizarre perks of the royal family.

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A voluminous cerulean blue coat

Diana was famous for her expressive blue eyes and often mirrored their color in her clothing choices. In 1988, she paired this oversized, double-breasted, cerulean blue coat with a matching pillbox hat. Meghan Markle, who usually seems more partial to navy blue, channeled her late mother-in-law by wearing an oversized cerulean coat in October 2018 at for the launch of a cookbook whose proceeds go to charity.

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Strapless dress

As we can see from this photo taken in November 2013, Ms. Meghan Markle was a fan of strapless dresses before she met Prince Harry. It’s racy look, so we’ll have to wait and see if she goes for it again now that she’s a royal. One royal who did rock the strapless dress? The Princess of Wales, who went strapless in maxi-length cornflower blue at the 1989 Centenary Ball for the Birthright Charity in London.

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One-shoulder dress

Once her marriage to Prince Charles had gone kaput, the Princess of Wales took to making style choices that would have seemed inconceivable as a royal—including this one-shoulder dress (worn to a 1996 charity ball in Sydney, Australia). Although Meghan’s clearly a fan of the look, which she’s rocking in this 2013 photo taken at the American Ballet Theater Opening Night Gala in New York City, the jury’s still out on whether she’ll try to pull it off now that she’s married to Prince Harry. Here are the tiny details you might have missed about Harry and Meghan’s wedding.

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Little white dress

In 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales wore a tiny white slipdress to Christie’s in London, where many of her dresses were being auctioned for charity. Meghan channels the same look in October 2018—but with a bit more of the modesty required of a royal. In addition to modesty, there are plenty of other royal etiquette rules Meghan is supposed to follow.

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Ethnic-styled clothing

It’s now known that the love of Diana’s life was the Pakistani-born cardio-surgeon, Hasnat Khan, MD. When Diana visited Khan’s native country, she did her best to blend in with the locals by wearing their traditional clothing, as shown here in 1997. Meghan takes a page out of her late mother-in-law’s fashion rulebook by stepping out in this colorful ethnic print by New York City designer, Figue, on a trip to Fiji in October 2018. Here’s everything you probably don’t know about Hasnat Khan.

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Tartan in Scotland

Just as they did when dressing to fit in with the locals of Pakistan or Fiji, both Princess Diana and Duchess Meghan wore traditional tartan while visiting the home of tartan, Scotland. Princess Diana wore black and red on a royal tour of the Western Isles of Scotland in 1985. Meghan wore blue and green plaid (by Burberry) outside Edinburgh Castle in Scotland in February 2018.

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Sunshine yellow

You know who loves wearing sunshine yellow? Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Considering that a standard fashion rule is “dress like you wish to be treated,” it’s no surprise both Princess Diana and Duchess Meghan dressed in sunshine yellow early on in their marriages—Diana in 1983, and Meghan in July 2018. Here’s a color you’ll likely never see the Duchess of Sussex wearing, and what it has to do with the Queen.

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The “Revenge Dress”

In June 1994, Princess Diana wore this sexy number to a Vanity Fair party the same night Prince Charles publicly confessed his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. The dress was, therefore, dubbed “the Revenge Dress.” However, outside the world of the royals, the Revenge Dress wouldn’t have been seen as particularly risqué. In fact, Meghan Markle wore a similar dress in 2012 to a fashion show tied to her television show, Suits, and it caused hardly a stir. Find out why Prince Charles didn’t simply marry Camilla in the first place.

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Equestrian styling

Princess Diana pulled off the equestrian style so incredibly well back in December 1986 (photographed while dropping a young Prince William off at school) that it’s not surprising her daughter-in-law Meghan Markle would try out the look, herself. With long legs like Diana’s, Meghan pulls it off easily here in October 2018 on a tour of New Zealand.

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Floaty red dress

In June 1997, on a visit to Washington D.C. to support the American Red Cross’s providing aid to the victims of landmines, Princess Diana wore this ethereal dress in an unusual shade of sunset-orange-red. We saw this color again on Duchess Meghan in October 2018, when she wore it, also in a floaty dress (one which elegantly showed off Meghan’s baby bump), to travel to Tonga with her husband, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. Learn the 12 royal pregnancy rules Meghan has been learning to follow.

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The telltale beret?

Princess Diana was famous for her hats, which often seemed to provide a window into the sensitive woman’s soul. In 1984, she’s photographed at the naming of a royal ship, looking smart in a beret chosen to match her jacket. While it’s too soon to tell if Meghan’s hat choices reveal her inner thoughts, it seems possible her choice of matching beret at a November 2018 National Service honoring the dead from World War I might have been a sentimental nod to her beloved husband’s late mum. Next, check out these stunning, rarely seen photos of Princess Diana.

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for rd.com or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.
Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.