- The Duchess of Sussex has been criticized for failing to meet Wimbledon’s dress code during her appearance last week.
- Meghan Markle showed up to watch Serena Williams play on Court One on Thursday wearing jeans and a hat.
- The duchess wasn’t allowed to watch the Championships from the royal box because she was wearing jeans, according to The Times.
- But even for those not seated in the royal box, “dressing smartly is encouraged,” according to a report by the Evening Standard.
- Markle attended just two days after Kate Middleton, who wore a white button-down dress while watching Roger Federer from the royal box.
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Meghan Markle has been criticized by Wimbledon fans for failing to meet the event’s strict dress code during her appearance last week.
The Duchess of Sussex was joined by her university friends to watch Serena Williams play on Court One on Thursday.
An All England Club source told The Times, however, that the group wasn’t allowed to sit in the royal box because the duchess was wearing jeans.
“She wanted to come incognito but there were problems,” the source said. “They couldn’t invite her into the royal box because she was wearing jeans but that didn’t really matter because all she wanted to do was come and watch Serena.”
Another person, who has been a club member for more than 30 years, told the publication: “She’s not allowed to wear jeans.”
The duchess also wore a hat, another item of clothing that is thought to be prohibited from the royal box.
- Karwai Tang/Getty Images
During her appearance at the Championships with Kate Middleton last year, Markle was photographed holding her hat instead of wearing it. This year, however, she was photographed wearing the hat while seated in court one.
It wouldn’t be the first time a celebrity has been prohibited entry from the royal box for breaking the dress code. At the 2015 Championships, Lewis Hamilton was refused entry for not wearing a tie – which a representative for the Formula One player later described as an “unfortunate misunderstanding regarding the dress code.”
Although Buckingham Palace is yet to publicly comment on the claims, a palace source told The Times that the duchess “had no intention of going to the royal box.”
Nonetheless, it’s not just those in the royal box who are encouraged to dress for the event.
Though there appear to be no official guidelines on Wimbledon’s website, “dressing smartly is encouraged, especially if frequenting Centre Court or Court One,” according to a report by the Evening Standard.
Middleton appeared at the Championships two days before her sister-in-law, and her outfit was quite the contrast.
The Duchess of Cambridge opted for a white button-down dress with sunglasses as she watched Harriet Dart from Court 14 and later Roger Federer from the royal box.
- Karwai Tang/Getty Images
The duchesses’ separate appearances sparked concern from royal followers, especially since they attended together the year before.
Markle’s security team was also heavily criticized for the precautions it took to ensure no fans took photos of the duchess. Her team reportedly approached fans who weren’t trying to photograph Markle but were instead taking photos of the court.
“Sally Jones, 64, a media consultant sitting in the same row as the royal visitor, said that a man had tapped her on the shoulder and asked her not to use her phone to photograph the duchess, even though Ms Jones said she had been zooming in on Serena Williams,” The Times reports.
An official involved with organizing the event – who chose to remain anonymous – branded Markle’s visit as a “nightmare.”
“It was a nightmare, she was a nightmare,” the person told The Times.
A representative for the All England Club, however, told INSIDER that the duchess’ visit was a “privilege,” saying:
“The AELTC was delighted to welcome HRH The Duchess of Sussex in a private capacity to The Championships to watch her friend Serena Williams compete on No.1 Court.
“The Duchess was greeted by AELTC Chairman Philip Brook at the Players’ Reception on arrival before making her way to No.1 Court, and it was always the intention that the visit would be only for the one match.
“Any suggestion that The Duchess’s visit was anything other than a privilege is categorically not the view of the AELTC and she is always welcome to attend The Championships.”
INSIDER has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.