Clare Waight Keller will already go down in history as the coveted craftsman behind Meghan Markle's bespoke and elegant royal wedding dress, but the designer recently added another accolade to her list of accomplishments. Monday night, the 48-year-old received the Womenswear Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards—and one of her most famous clients was on hand to bestow the honor.
The Duchess of Sussex took the stage in a surprise appearance to present the award and eloquently sing the Givenchy designer's praises. (Yes, the crowd went wild upon Markle's appearance.) Stunning in a black one-shoulder gown, Meghan introduced the distinction before revealing the lucky honoree.
"As all of you in this room know, we have a deep connection to what we wear," she began. "Sometimes it's very personal, sometimes it's emotional. But for me, this connection is rooted in really being able to understand that it's about supporting and empowering each other, especially as women. When we choose to wear a certain designer, we're not just a reflection of their creativity and their vision but we're also an extension of their values of something in the fabric, so to speak, that is much more meaningful."
Then she went on to reveal the Womenswear Designer of the Year recipient as her own wedding dress designer.
"I feel especially proud to announce tonight's winner who, yes, is a British designer leading on the global stage with vision and creativity, but also with incredible kindness, which is why when I met her for the first time 11 months ago, I knew that we'd be working very closely together," Markle said. "The winner this evening is Clare Waight Keller."
The two embraced as Waight Keller accepted the award. "I can't even tell you how surprised I am!" she exclaimed of seeing the royal. "I just have to take a moment because I'm just really shocked."
Once the initial amazement went off, the Givenchy artistic director thanked her family and design team for their support. And, lo and behold, Waight Keller had even planned a tribute to Meghan in her acceptance speech.
"Lastly, I was going to thank you because this woman is so amazing," she said with a laugh, turning to the Duchess of Sussex—who was glowing and cradling her pregnant stomach for most of the speech. "And I got to know Meghan on such a personal level and to have someone like that trust you in an incredible moment in their life is something that is just the most unbelievable honor. And I can't thank you enough."
To commemorate the occasion, the designer and muse duo snapped a few pictures, alongside actress Rosamund Pike, in the event's photo booth. Because when your maternity style looks THAT good, it's a given to capture the moment.
Waight Keller also took to Instagram to share a photo from the awards ceremony, reiterating her overall astonishment from the awards ceremony. "The ultimate surprise - the very special moment that I discovered #meghanmarkle #duchessofsussex was going to give me the award for Womenswear Designer of the Year," she wrote alongside the post. "Such an extraordinary moment of emotion and love for this amazing woman who changed my life 🖤 thank you @givenchyofficial."
Congratulations to Clare Waight Keller for the well-deserved recognition, especially given the fact that one of her most notorious creations has made its way to a museum display.