Prince Harry And Meghan Markle: Will British Fashion Benefit From A Second 'Kate Effect?'

Meghan Markle Prince Harry
Britain's Prince Harry poses with Meghan Markle in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, London, Britain, November 27, 2017 Toby Melville/Reuters

In a hyper-visible age of mass media and Instagram, royals aren't just royals—they also function as walking billboards.

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is well-known for her impact on the fashion brands she favors. She caused the Reiss website to crash in 2011 as people flocked to order a dress she had worn. More recently, earlier this year her four-year-old son Prince George inspired a boom in demand for French puy lentils because they're served at his school.

And now there's going to be a new royal at the palace. With the announcement of Prince Harry's engagement to Meghan Markle, the actress and former lifestyle blogger, already a famous face, has likely acquired a lot more clout.

"Meghan is a serious influencer in the world of global fashion already," Kim Winser, Founder & CEO of womenswear brand Winser London and ex-CEO of upmarket brands Aquascutum and Pringle of Scotland, told Newsweek. "Her style is confident, modern and is different to that of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge." According to the L.A. Times, for example, a $1,375 Mulberry handbag Markle sported last Christmas sold out online.

But, Winser adds, a new royal role will give Markle a larger platform. "Prince William and Kate have always included Prince Harry in their serious British engagements and charitable roles," she said. "I would predict we will see Meghan included in many new roles once she is an official member of the British Royal family."

Kate Middleton has been credited with being a particular boon to the wildly successful British fashion industry. Tony DiMasso, president of L K Bennett, told The Guardian in 2012 that her support had helped the brand break America, for example. Newsweek in 2012 estimated her influence could be worth £1 billion to U.K. fashion.

Winser said Markle could well play a similar role: "I'm sure she will have the confidence to mix into her wardrobe styles from the newer British brands as well as the stable American ones—after all we are the home of new talent here in Britain, so there will be plenty to choose from."

Already, Ernest Jones and H.Samuel have a special range prepared to help you emulate Harry and Meghan's choice of engagement ring.

Meanwhile, it's not just the fashion world that gets excited when attention turns to the royals. The British travel industry is another big beneficiary.

Visit London, the city's tourism board, issued a statement Monday congratulating the couple, and stressing that "2016 was a record year for the number of international visitors into London, and Royal heritage was a big part of driving that."