What to wear to a royal wedding

It’s guaranteed to be the most photographed event of 2018, and it’s not just the royal couple under scrutiny. A royal wedding requires guests to pull out all the style stops, so if you’re one of the fortunate few invited to celebrate the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on 19th May, what on earth should you wear?

Even for the brief period of the couple’s engagement, Ms Markle has won plaudits for her distinctive but occasion-appropriate sense of style. So who better to offer inspiration on this most public style platform than the bride herself?

Wear the Trousers

It’s still relatively unusual to see women wearing trouser suits at weddings, but Meghan Markle showed just how elegant they can look at the Endeavour Fund Awards in February. Amal Clooney, meanwhile, wore cream trousers and matching top with a wide-brimmed hat for her civil ceremony in Venice.

With jumpsuits given the official nod of approval at Royal Ascot’s Royal Enclosure for the first-time last year, we can expect to see the all-in-one make an appearance on the 19th, too.

Pale or bright colours and light fabrics such as silk or linen, paired with well-thought-out accessories, will ensure that you don’t look like you’re heading to the office. Remember that shoulders should be covered for a church ceremony.

Keep it British

Royal weddings in the UK are occasions for celebrating homegrown craft and produce: sparkling wine from Chapel Down vineyard in Kent was served at the reception for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with an array of locally-sourced food.

The Queen similarly chose to wear British designer Norman Hartnell on her wedding day, with Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge following suit in the Emanuels and Alexander McQueen respectively.

Meghan Markle has already shown her support for British labels and brands on a number of public appearances: Marks & Spencer sold out of its black bell sleeve sweater when she wore it to visit Brixton radio station Representz earlier in the year. It is believed, however, that a sketch from Israeli bridal designer Inbal Dror has been requested by Kensington Palace – will she break with previous form in her choice of wedding gown?

For guests keen to bring the best of British to the royal wedding, Stella McCartney, Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Emilia Wickstead, Amanda Wakeley and Erdem are just a few of the homegrown choices on offer.

Consider the occasion

Despite her relaxed approach to interacting with members of the public, Meghan Markle knows when to embrace formality, choosing smart but stylish outfits for her many high-profile appearances, such as on Christmas day at Sandringham.

Guests at the royal wedding should bring a similar sense of occasion, opting for an outfit that incorporates both tradition and style to acknowledge the importance of the ceremony.

And while Meghan Markle might prefer to dispense with formal physical protocol when meeting members of the public, if guests are introduced to a member of the royal family, women should still remember to curtsey and men bow from the neck.

Remember to Smile 

She’s about to marry the UK’s most eligible bachelor, so why has the British public embraced Meghan Markle so readily to its heart? It could be because she seems so likeable. Much of her appeal is down to the warmth and authenticity of her smile: remember the relaxed grin with which she responded to events going awry at the Endeavour Fund Awards?

Guests on 19th May should follow suit. If a heel breaks, or a button pops, or your hat topples, simply remember that you’re there to celebrate the couple – as is everybody else – so smile! Are you attending a wedding this year? For style inspiration, head to the luxury boutiques at Bicester Village, less than an hour on the train from London www.bicestervillage.com

What can we expect from the royal wedding?

If you’ve been a guest at a few weddings, you’re probably so familiar with the order of events that you could write them down backwards and blindfolded. Ceremony, champagne, photographs, dinner, speeches, dancing: it’s time-honoured and tested, and it does the trick. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have already shown that they’re prepared to do things a little differently. First there were the affectionate engagement photographs, then the candid BBC interview, and finally those informal and very smiley first few public appearances.  

So how might the couple deviate from tradition (or decide to embrace it) on the day? We’ve got a few ideas…

The Dress

We might think of a traditional wedding dress as being white, but royal brides of the last century have typically worn ivory – The Queen, Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge all chose ivory silk.  

The shape and style are still up for debate – might Meghan Markle opt for the corset bodice and elegant lace sleeves favoured by the Duchess of Cambridge, or a dramatic, extra-long train like Princess Diana? The only element about which we can be fairly confident are that her shoulders will be covered, as is traditional for formal church ceremonies in the UK. 

Another tradition upheld by successive royal brides is to have a charm sewn into the lining of the wedding dress for good luck. The Queen chose a clover leaf, Princess Diana a horseshoe, and the Duchess of Cambridge a blue ribbon (“something blue”).

The Hair and Make-up

On her wedding day in 1947, with Britain still suffering the economic after-effects of the war, the Queen sensibly chose to do her own make-up. Her granddaughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, followed suit decades later, although her “demi-chignon” hairstyle was created by celebrity stylist Richard Ward. 

Brides like Meghan Markle who usually favour a natural look may make an exception for their wedding day and opt for a more striking and dramatic style. After all, royal bridal make-up has to endure not just a long day on show, but also the scrutiny of thousands of camera lenses.  

And while it’s still more usual for brides to wear their hair up in keeping with the formality of the occasion, this decision will largely depend on the style of the dress and the veil. 

The Suit

Like his father, grandfather and older brother, Prince Harry may well choose to wear dress uniform on his wedding day. Though he no longer serves with his former regiment the Blues and Royals of the Household Cavalry, his military ties are understandably important to him: the Invictus Games founder also took over from the Duke of Edinburgh as Captain General of the Royal Marines last year.

The Wedding Party

It’s not customary for the groom to elect a best man at a royal wedding, but Prince Harry was official ‘supporter’ to Prince William back in 2011, so it’s likely that the older brother will play a reciprocal role on 19th May. 

Rumours abound over whom Meghan Markle might choose for her bridal party, but with child attendants more traditional for royal weddings (and arguably less controversial) than adult bridesmaids, she is likely to involve her new niece and nephew, Princess Charlotte and Prince George. Will her beloved rescue beagle Guy also follow her down the aisle? 

Bridesmaids originally wore white to imitate the bride – the idea being that they would confuse rival suitors or those with evil intentions. Formal weddings often still adhere to this tradition, especially for child bridesmaids, although sashes and trims may be a different colour. 

It’s traditional for couples to give presents to members of their wedding team to say thank you. Will Meghan Markle’s younger attendants receive an engraved pen for when they’re older, or a special photograph album to help them remember the occasion later on?

The Speeches

It’s traditional for speeches to be given by the father of the bride, the groom, and the best man (usually in that order). Increasingly, modern brides are choosing to say something as well, and it is believed that Meghan Markle intends to speak at her wedding to Prince Harry.  

Already an experienced performer, we doubt she’ll have any trouble delivering a poised and moving speech on the day, while Prince Harry is accustomed to speaking at public engagements and charity events.  

For less seasoned speakers who may be called upon to say a few words on the day, we recommend plenty of practice to help eliminate nerves and emotion. However tempted you may be by some Dutch courage, limit your champagne intake beforehand to ensure you pull off a polished performance.  

Contrary to expectation, a best man’s speech doesn’t have to rival a stand-up comedy routine – for less confident speakers, heartfelt and succinct is preferable to rambling and borderline offensive.

The Food

If the couple's choice of wedding cake creator is anything to go by, this year’s royal wedding food is likely to be influenced by their backgrounds: like the bride-to-be, pastry chef and food stylist Claire Ptak was born in California and is now based in London. It's likely that their shared love of overseas travel and humanitarian work could provide inspiration, too. Could we see crab rolls from the sunshine coast or Vektoek (Afrikaner fried dough) in amongst the quails’ eggs and asparagus spears?

The Wedding Favours

Wedding favours are not traditional, but whether it’s a miniature fragrance or chocolates, the couple may choose to give each of their guests a token to thank them for attending. 

Alternatively, given their shared commitment to charitable causes, they might choose charity favours – usually small pin badges that represent a donation made on behalf of each guest.

The Dancing

An evening party, complete with DJ or band, is a relatively recent wedding development, and it may be that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decide to stick with the more traditional reception or dinner and forego the party. 

If there is a party component (perhaps only for close friends and family), friend to the princes Guy Pelly is surely best placed to oversee it – the nightclub owner runs Chelsea hotspot Tonteria. And will Coldplay, who performed at Kensington Palace for Prince Harry’s charity Sentebale, put in a special appearance? 

Either way, we suspect that Prince Harry will set a high standard on the dance floor: according to Joss Stone, he had no qualms about initiating a conga line at a charitable event in Lesotho. Al Green’s Call Me, meanwhile, is apparently guaranteed to get Meghan’s mother, Dorla Raglan, ‘swaying her head and snapping her fingers.’ Are you planning or attending a wedding yourself this year? For style inspiration, head to the luxury boutiques at Bicester Village, less than an hour on the train from London www.bicestervillage.com

'The more you look for kindness, the more you see it': Interview with Shahroo Izadi

As part of our month-long celebration of kindness in March, we spoke to Shahroo Izadi, a behavioural change specialist in private practice and the author of The Kindness Method, a forthcoming book that details her approach to behavioural change, which evolved from her experience treating substance misuse.

We spoke to Shahroo to learn more about the book and her background, and found out why we can’t be kind to others until we have learnt to be kind to ourselves… What led you to develop the Kindness Method?

My first role after graduating in Psychosocial Sciences and Psychology was as an assistant psychologist at an NHS substance misuse service in north-west London.

I learned a huge amount about how drug addiction is treated in this country and found working in the field of addictive behaviours fascinating. I received training in the different approaches used in addiction treatment and went on to become a substance misuse practitioner and then a Criminal Justice Lead.

I later became a consultant to a number of organisations responsible for treating addiction. During that time, some of the staff asked me how they could adapt some of my motivational training to overcome their own habits – whether procrastination or smoking. That encouraged me to develop a framework that would be applicable to a more mainstream audience.

Following a sold-out workshop at The School of Life and a series of articles for The Pool, I was receiving so many enquiries that I set up my own private practice. I secured a two-book publishing deal with Pan Macmillan in the summer of last year.

What is the Kindness Method?

The Kindness Method consists of exercises aimed at helping you change any habit and activate any plan of your choosing – whether you want to train for a marathon or develop a better relationship with alcohol.

The Kindness Method teaches you to credit yourself with the ability to accomplish your goals, instead of anticipating failure

These exercises focus on developing a kinder internal dialogue. They teach you how to credit yourself with the ability to accomplish what you have set out to do, instead of anticipating failure or being harsh on yourself at the slightest setback.

How does it work?

The theory behind the Kindness Method is that we speak to ourselves in ways we would never speak to a loved one.

If a partner or close friend was working towards a goal or experiencing a personal challenge, we would only offer them support and encouragement.

With ourselves, we are much crueller and less forgiving – we often fall back on core beliefs that might have been in place since our childhoods: 'I’m the sort of person who…'

If you want to train for a marathon, for example, circumstances can inevitably mean you have to deviate from your plan – but it’s about not blaming yourself when that happens and having the faith in yourself to get back on track.

We hear a lot about ‘self-care’ these days. How does self-kindness differ from self-indulgence?

It’s not about being easy on yourself, or letting yourself off the hook. It’s about believing yourself to be worthy enough to achieve your goals.

So to go back to the marathon training analogy: you wake up one morning and it’s raining, and you’re completely lacking the motivation to go for a run. What do you do?

I would advise you to think about the conversation you’ll be having with yourself tomorrow if you go, versus the conversation you’ll have if you don’t go.

What is your own experience of the Kindness Method?

I used to be very overweight and went to an Overeaters Anonymous support group. They use a similar approach to the one you might find in AA or NA, which is based on an end-goal of complete abstinence: obviously not an option with eating!

I realised that I needed to adapt some of the same approaches I was developing with my clients in substance misuse, particularly exploring the purpose that food was serving for me. The framework I developed, and which also formed the basis of the Kindness Method, enabled me to lose eight stone.

We are often focused on what’s wrong with a behaviour rather than what’s right with it, but it’s actually more interesting and useful to talk about what somebody enjoys about a particular behaviour or addiction – that allows you to create a more unique plan to deal with it, based on adding the positives rather than taking away the negatives.

We are often focused on what's wrong with a behaviour rather than what's right with it

How can self-kindness affect our relationships with others?

Some of what I consider my most important work has been at a recovery house, where staff are doing such selfless work.

I also learned about compassion fatigue, however, and the importance of replenishing our stores of kindness. We’re more able to be compassionate to others when we are kind to ourselves. I learned that the best thing I can do for my clients is to take care of myself.

When you cultivate kindness to yourself, you look for it around you.

The other thing is that when you cultivate kindness to yourself, you look for it around you. The more you look for it, the more you see it and attract it.


"The one power we all have": interview with Edward Miles

As our month-long celebration of kindness continues, we spoke to Edward Miles, who set up his eponymous removals company at the age of 22. He told us what challenges he faced as a young business owner, how he has incorporated a policy of kindness into his work, and how one particular incident with a team member gave him pause for thought.

What was the biggest challenge you encountered when you first set up your own company? 

The biggest challenge was my age. I was only 22 when I set up Edward Miles Removals so I couldn’t get truck insurance (which is fairly crucial to a removals business) because I was under 25!

How would you describe your style of leadership? 

I take every opportunity to be on the ground with my team, to do the running and lift the boxes. I think that you have to lead by example to build a strong team.

What qualities do you look for in your team members? 

I want to see a commitment to honesty, integrity and trust.

What does good customer service mean to you? 

Good customer service means having the knowledge and confidence to advise your clients and going as far as you possibly can to support them.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt since starting Edward Miles Removals? 

That mistakes are as important as successes! I firmly believe that making mistakes is part of learning. What matters is how you resolve them and what you learn.

What advice would you give to others who are looking to start their own business?

You can do it. I started Edward Miles Removals having left education at 16, with no business backer, in a heavily saturated market.

Now we’re three years in and our turnover is increasing over 100% each year. I firmly believe that the only person standing in front of you is yourself. You can’t let anyone tell you that it’s not possible; if I had believed that, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in.

Is kindness really compatible with commerce? 

In our line of business, which involves moving people out of often much-loved homes into new and unfamiliar situations, we need to be sensitive. I wouldn’t expect anything less of myself and my team than to be empathetic and kind.

However, there is one moment that stands out and made me particularly proud of a team member.

I was on the way to see my team, who were working in a penthouse on Chelsea Embankment, when I happened to see one of my guys painfully hopping along in a foot brace – he had broken his foot the day before playing football so he really shouldn’t have been working, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

At the bottom of the building we were working, he bent down to give his lunch to a homeless man. Witnessing this moment was incredibly humbling. Quite honestly, I think I would have run past this man without a thought because I was too ‘busy’. This act of kindness puts into perspective the things that really matter and was a reminder that being kind is the one power we all have.

Renée's Recipe for Pumpkin Pie

No pudding is more synonymous with Thanksgiving than pumpkin pie, and our managing director Renée, who moved to the UK from California three years ago, has shared a little bit of history on this festive sweet treat – as well as her favourite recipe for it:

History of the pumpkin pie

More often than not, any mention of pumpkin pie to my British friends is met with a sceptical raised eyebrow (polite response) or the facial expression a toddler might make when served mushed broccoli. While it’s a staple of the American Thanksgiving table, history attributes the use of pumpkins in baking (or ‘pumpions’ as they were known in the 16th Century) to the English.

Ingesting pumpkin for pudding rather than as a side dish (or as a seasonal spiced latte) may not be your slice of pie, but, if you’re given the opportunity, don’t be afraid to try a bite. You won’t be alone if you find you love the taste (50 million pumpkin pies are devoured each Thanksgiving). If it’s not to your liking, you can be thankful it’s only served once per year.

Pumpkin pie recipe

For the crust:

Yields 1 double crust or 2 single 9" pie crusts


 Mix flour, salt and sugar (if desired) in a large mixing bowl.  Blend in the cubed butter by hand or using a pastry mixer until pea-sized pieces have formed.  Add half the water (or water/vodka) and mix until the dough comes together.  If more water is needed, add in tablespoons.  Shape the dough into a ball and separate into two pieces.  Flatten both into disks, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (dough can be frozen for up to 1 month before using).  

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12’’ – 14’’ diameter and transfer to a 9’’ pie tin, crimping the edges to seal.  If you have pie weights, line the crust with parchment paper or aluminium foil ; else use a fork to prick the dough to prevent it from rising.  Bake at 175C for 15-20 minutes (until crust is lightly browned).   

For the pumpkin filling*

Whisk eggs, sugar, and maple syrup together until smooth. Add pumpkin purée, cream, vanilla, spices and salt until blended.

 Heat the oven to 225C. With your pre-baked pie crust on a baking sheet, pour the pumpkin filling into the crust and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 175C and bake for 35-45 minutes, rotating every 15 minutes, until a toothpick about 2’’ from the edge comes out cleanly. If the crust edges are browning, cover with a thin strip of aluminium foil. Cool on a wire rack and top with whipped cream when ready to serve.

*Note: there are many ways this recipe can be adjusted to be dairy free or suitable for vegans. Sweetened condensed milk or dairy alternatives such as coconut milk can be used instead of cream, and caster sugar can be substituted for maple syrup. Sugar, spices and salt can all be adjusted to taste. The one non-substitutable ingredient is the pumpkin!

Going for etiquette gold: travel tips for Olympic spectators

As Rio de Janeiro prepares to host the world’s best athletes at the 2016 Olympic Games, spectators, tourists and business professionals are excitedly packing their bags, checking their tickets and getting ready to descend on one of the world’s most beautiful countries. Like most of South America, Brazil enjoys incredible scenery and landscapes, from the long, sprawling beaches of Copacabana to its rugged mountain ranges.

Olympics fans lucky enough to be heading to Brazil to support their team can enjoy Rio's rich culture and traditions to the full with a few simple etiquette tips:

General greeting and conversation:

Much of Brazil’s social etiquette is based on a strong level of trust and sense of family. Families tend to be quite large and very close, especially the extended family. Unlike some other countries and cultures, the practice of favouring relatives or friends suggests that trust is the main focus and of primary importance.

Meeting and Greeting:

Brazil illustration-02

When meeting someone for the first time in Brazil, the greeting depends on how well you know the person.


Conversation and communication across Brazil is usually relaxed and quite informal.

Invitations and gift-giving:

Brazil illustration-03

Whether you’re visiting Brazil as a tourist or for business, you may be invited to an event or party. Although gift-giving in Brazil is not as ritualistic as for some Eastern cultures, there is still an level of etiquette that those being hosted should observe.


Unlike in the UK, punctuality is not strictly adhered to in social situations in Brazil.

Dress Codes:

If a dress code is not stated on the invitation, it is always better to err on the side of formality than under-dressing. Although Brazilians tend to dress casually, they will do so with elegance and with flair, and judgment is often passed on others’ appearance. Visitors, therefore, should take note and dress accordingly.

Giving gifts:

Brazil illustration-04

If invited to a social occasion, you should present the hostess with a small gift, usually flowers.

James Brookes, illustrations by Wing Po

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