Ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding on May 19th, speculation is rife: who'll be receiving a gold-embossed invitation in the post? And who'll make the super-exclusive guest list for their Frogmore House reception? Will Prince George and Princess Charlotte lead the page boys and flower girls? And, most importantly, who will be designing Meghan's wedding dress?
It's that latter question that has filled hundreds and hundreds of column inches in the lead up to the big day. First, betting was suspended on Alexander McQueen as Meghan's designer of choice, then the same thing happened with a flurry of bets on British couturiers Ralph & Russo. One report even speculated that Meghan had 'doubled her dress budget' to a staggering £400,000 ($782,036.10 NZD). According to royal expert Katie Nicholl, however, it's extremely unlikely that the soon-to-be Duchess would opt for a gown with such a high price tag, as royal etiquette dictates that she shouldn't attempt to outshine her sister-in-law - and the future Queen - the Duchess of Cambridge.
'There have been reports that Meghan is considering spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a wedding dress. I think that's incredibly unlikely,' Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight.
'Kate Middleton's wedding dress cost £150,000 ($293,263.54 NZD). It was her parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, who paid for that bill. I think it [is] very unlikely that Meghan would spend more than that and in doing so try and upstage a future Queen,' she explained, adding that 'Meghan is very sensible. She understands what the perception will be of this gown.
'I don't think she's going to want to get royal life off to a start where she's criticised for spending something like £400,000 on a wedding dress.'
In fact, according to Nicholl, Meghan is much more likely to seek to emulate Kate on her big day, both in terms of the style of dress - apparently asking for a gown 'with lace' and 'with sleeves' - and in how she will keep the designer under wraps until May 19th.
'Let's be honest, this is a girl who knows how to keep a secret. She and Harry kept their romance clandestine for months, so she knows how to stay tight-lipped,' Nicholl said. 'There's going to be so much attention on the dress. She's like every other bride in that respect, she wants to keep it a secret up until the last minute.'
This article originally appeared on Grazia.