- Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are set to marry in May, but Markle has already cemented her icon status.
- Markle is following in the footsteps of Kate Middleton, who drives more than $1 billion to the UK fashion industry annually, according to a 2012 estimate.
- The “Meghan effect” has taken hold, and Markle may be poised to overtake Middleton.
Like Kate Middleton before her, Meghan Markle became a fashion icon the moment she announced her royal engagement.
The 36-year-old American actress has become an object of fascination by fans in Britain and the US.
Everything Markle wears and does is idolized – and that’s translating to hundreds of millions of dollars for the British economy.
Brand Finance estimates that Markle’s entrée into the royal family could rake in about $677 million (£500 million) this year, Forbes reported, but that’s only the beginning. If Middleton and Prince William’s 2011 nuptials are any indication, the public’s obsession with Markle will only deepen over time – especially if she has babies.
Markle is following in the footsteps of Middleton, whose fashion-icon status is worth about $1 billion annually to the British fashion industry.
But with Markle’s fan bases in the US, Canada, and now the UK – and a style that’s decidedly trendier and less traditional than Middleton’s – it’s possible her newly initiated “Meghan effect” could swiftly dominate the “Kate effect.”
Keep reading to find out how Markle has gained a foothold in the royal family.
Markle’s entrée into the royal family as the wife-to-be of Prince Harry — long considered one of the world’s most eligible bachelors — is expected to boost the British economy by $677 million this year, Brand Finance estimates.
Markle and Prince Harry’s nuptials in May are expected to boost tourism and travel, bringing in profits from restaurants, hotels, parties, and celebrations, as well as sales of T-shirts, hats, banners, and other commemorative merchandise related to the wedding.
- Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Around the time of the 2011 royal wedding, the phenomenon was deemed the “Duchess effect” or the “Kate effect.” Now, anything worn by Middleton, and now her children, flies off the shelves. Middleton effectively became a trendsetter overnight.
- Getty/Julian Finney
Newsweek estimated in 2012 that the Kate effect was worth more than $1 billion annually to the UK fashion industry. But the “Meghan effect” has staked its claim so quickly that there’s speculation that Markle’s influence may soon dominate her future sister-in-law’s.
Source: Harper’s Bazaar
Markle wore a $750 white wool coat from the Canadian brand Line during the couple’s engagement announcement in late November that sold out in seconds and has been renamed The Meghan. Line’s president, John Muscat, says that “everyone is trying to get it” but that it “has to stay exclusive.”
- Chris Jackson / Getty
At Markle’s first official royal outing with Prince Harry, she carried a $675 burgundy purse from the Scottish brand Strathberry. It sold out in 11 seconds and has been renamed the Meghan Bag.
In fact, just about every piece of clothing item Markle has publicly worn so far as Prince Harry’s fiancée has sold out, except for a black turtleneck bodysuit from the Austrian brand Wolford that costs about $250.
Muscat says he has worked with Markle and her stylist for several years. “I think there is an appetite for something new and she is a bit of surprise,” he told People.
- Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
For several years, Markle ran a fashion and lifestyle blog and often shared photos of her clothes and accessories with millions of Instagram followers. Her influence only swelled after announcing her engagement to Prince Harry. The New York Times recently described her as “a singular mover of product.”
- Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
Source: The New York Times
Markle’s American citizenship, along with the few years she spent living in Canada while shooting the TV drama “Suits,” has expanded her global fan base.
But as demonstrated by the Kate effect, influence reverberates far beyond the months surrounding the wedding. For Markle, an American actress who’s a fixture on red carpets, the royal stage is simply a status upgrade.