It’s no secret that there’s a strict wedding dress code for the upcoming nuptials of our cover star Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, and when the pair got engaged, a few critics questioned whether she would be able to wear white as she is a divorcée. Well rest assured that she is allowed to wear white, as it’s part of a long-standing tradition dating back to Queen Victoria.

She set the trend when she wore pure white to wed Prince Albert in 1840, which was very unusual at the time, with most brides opting for colours like blue or yellow, embroidered with silver or gold thread. Since then, royal brides have typically favoured white dresses, including Kate Middleton, Princess Diana and Princess Margaret.

There’s an extra significance in Meghan wearing white. Historian Professor Kate Williams said on the ITV documentary Invitation to a Royal Wedding, that, ‘When Victoria got married, she was in pure white, which signalled to the world that she was an innocent girl and so different to the debauched monarchs who’d gone before. And there is still this convention across the board; even the most fashion-forward, the most celebrity of brides, everyone still wears white.’

While of course we’re not saying anyone is debauched, the white will symbolise Meghan’s pure love for Prince Harry, and the royal family embracing change and new traditions.

In the our May issue we have an exclusive 6-page extract from a new biography of Meghan Markle, written by royal biographer Andrew Morton. Get a copy to find out all about the real Meghan Markle – from her childhood to Suits to the present day.

Via Marie Claire UK