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/ Source: TODAY
By Lindsay Lowe

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, surprised the crowd when she made an unannounced appearance at the 2018 British Fashion Awards in London on Monday.

Everyone was so busy obsessing over how stunning the former Meghan Markle, 37, looked in her one-shoulder Givenchy gown, that it took a minute to notice her other major style statement of the evening: dark nail polish.

The duchess's dark manicure broke from royal tradition. Getty Images

The color of her manicure may not seem like a big deal, but her dark nail varnish definitely broke what many would consider fashion precedent. There has long been an unspoken royal rule than women only wear clear or neutral shades of nail polish.

The duchess was on stage to present the British Womenswear Designer of the Year to her wedding dress designer, Clare Waight Keller, artistic director of Givenchy. In her chic monochromatic look, she delivered an inspiring speech about women's empowerment.

Queen Elizabeth II has long sworn by one shade of pale pink polish, Essie Ballet Slippers, and other women in the royal family tend to follow her lead when it comes to neutral-only nail shades.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, either wears clear or neutral polish, or nothing at all on her nails.

The Duchess of Cambridge sticks to neutral nail colors like this. Getty Images

And up until now, the Duchess of Sussex has also stuck to neutral shades.

The duchess usually wears neutral or clear nail polish in keeping with unwritten royal protocol. WireImage

There’s no official rule against wearing dark nail polish, so it’s not as if the duchess is actually breaking any written guidelines. But her edgy manicure is definitely a departure from longstanding royal tradition.

Of course, the duchess is already a style trailblazer for the royal family, from her fondness for crossbody bags to her laid-back, “messy” updos.

Maybe over time, with the duchess leading the way, colorful nail polish will become more acceptable within the British royal family.

In the meantime, we’ll be channeling her with dark manicures of our own.

Thanks to the duchess for some royal nail inspiration!