Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding will pump $1.4 billion into the British economy alone.
Meghan Markle has inherited the “Kate Effect” — and then some.
Everything that Kate Middleton and her royal offspring touch turns to sold, and her future sister-in-law has been making a similar mark on fashion running up to her lavish wedding ceremony to Prince Harry on Saturday.
This weekend’s royal nuptials, which luxury wedding planners say could carry a heft $1.4 million to $45.8 million price tag, are expected to pump $1.4 billion into the British economy through tourism, parties and sales of commemorative t-shirts, hats and other merch. There’s even Crown Jewels royal wedding-themed condoms.
The fervor goes beyond simple royal fever, however. The world has been captivated by the “Markle Sparkle” because she was already a celebrity in her own right through playing Rachel Zane on “Suits.” And as a biracial, divorced American, she’s also much more relatable than traditional blue bloods, so people are poring over every detail of what she does (and what she wears) as she joins the British monarchy.
Some women are even getting plastic surgery and fillers to look like the royal bride-to-be, with many asking for Markle’s distinctive nose. “A lot of women are looking at her and thinking, ‘How can I be like this cute woman and get my own Prince Charming?’” Dr. Rian Maercks, a plastic surgeon practicing in New York and Florida, told Moneyish.
So when Markle wore a $750 winter white belted coat by Canadian brand Line the Label during her official engagement announcement outside Kensington Palace last fall, royally-obsessed shoppers caused the designer site to crash and bought out the handmade coat in minutes. The line even renamed it “The Meghan” in honor of her engagement.
Markle, who lived in Toronto before relocating to London, has been good to the Canadian brand. She previously donned a $295 khaki Line the Label trench for the Invictus Games that also immediately sold out.
That’s not the only line that has enjoyed a boost from the bride-to-be. Markle’s engagement outfit included white strappy $730 Aquazzura heels that wrap around the ankles, which also sold out, and a $585 dark green dress by Italian label p.a.r.o.s.h that is also off the market. She topped it off with $780 18K gold Opal earrings from Birks, and the jeweler reported a 50% bump in site traffic on the day she wore them, WWD reported.
The New York Times reported that when Markle carried a Strathberry bag for her first official appearance after her engagement, it sold out in 11 minutes, and traffic to the company’s website spiked 5,000%. Then after she wore a pair of black Hiut Denim jeans in January, the Welsh brand had to move to a bigger factor by March to keep up with the demand.
When Kate Middleton became engaged to Prince William in 2010, the $615 blue silk Issa London wrap dress she wore — which perfectly matched her blue sapphire engagement ring — also became a sold-out global sensation. Jewelers were even called upon to create replicas of her 18-carat blue sapphire sparkler.
The Duchess of Cambridge remains the reigning queen of creating retail rushes. Analysts guess that she has a nearly $2 billion influence on the U.K. fashion industry alone, considering almost anything she wears sells out faster than you can say “Her Royal Highness.”
Her timeless high-low mix of designer and off-the-rack styles adds to her mass market appeal, and her good taste in dressing Prince George and Princess Charlotte has also led to their adorable outfits selling out just as fast, including the $39 plush white bathrobe George wore to meet President Obama in 2016, and Charlotte’s $23 John Lewis pale yellow birthday cardigan printed with fluffy sheep earlier in 2017. The “Kate Effect” bestowed more than $205 million to the British economy in 2015, according to consultancy Brand Finance, while the “Charlotte Effect” and the “George Effect” together contributed more than $239 million.
But her sister-in-law is haute on her heels, and the “Markle Sparkle” will only appreciate in value after the wedding, when the world will be obsessing over every detail of her bridal gown, shoes, jewelry and other nuptial accoutrements. And watch out when she has kids.
This article was originally published in November 2017, and has been updated ahead of the wedding between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
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