LONDON - When Meghan Markle walked down the aisle to marry Prince Harry on Saturday, she had with her the 53 countries of the Commonwealth - each one represented in the embroidery of her veil.
Recounting the discussions over Meghan's dress and veil for Saturday's groundbreaking wedding, designer Clare Waight Keller said the new Duchess of Sussex had welcomed the idea that her veil could be designed to hold extra significance.
"The veil was a huge part of the conversations that we had early on. We talked about what we wanted to do in terms of trying to embrace some of the royal connections in there," said Waight Keller, who became the first female artistic director at famed French house Givenchy last year.
"And a lot of the work that she's going to probably do in the future is going to be connected to the Commonwealth ... and I said 'wouldn't it be amazing if we took the 53 countries of the Commonwealth and embroidered a flower and some flora and fauna from each one of those and that they would go up the aisle, that journey up the aisle with you'."
Keller said Meghan loved the idea of "all of those countries walking with her through the ceremony."
Just last month, her now husband, Prince Harry, was appointed to his highest-profile public role to date as youth ambassador to the Commonwealth, the 53 nations bound together by the shared history of the now-defunct British Empire.
Those working on the hand-drawn veil spent hundreds of hours sewing the design, and had to keep washing their hands to keep the tulle and threads pristine.
Meghan's choice of a sleek sculpted dress, and the five-meter-long veil and sparkling diamond tiara, was praised by fashion experts.
Waight Keller said Harry had thanked her for her role in making his wife look "absolutely stunning" after the ceremony at the 15th-century St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, which was watched by royals and celebrities up close, with millions of others tuning into television coverage.
"I saw her after the service. She was absolutely radiant," said Waight Keller. "There was just a glow to her, you could tell they were so in love ... and she had just looked absolutely exquisite."