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Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton’s Favorite Nail Polishes Are *So* Cheap

The royal family is best described as all-caps EXTRA in almost every category: fashion, hats, weddings, scandals, corgis, and of course, castles. But when it comes to beauty, they tend to opt for a more understated approach—especially in the manicure department. Turns out the royals have very strong opinions about the specific brands/shades grace their finger nails—like, I’m talking…very strong opinions. To the point where Queen Elizabeth has been exclusively wearing her favorite $9 nail polish for over 30 years and thinks all other colors are “vulgar.” And that’s when she even wears polish! Most of the time, she prefers her nails bare and buffed. And because the Queen is the casual ruler of England, not to mention head of the royal family, other prominent royals like Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton tend to follow in her footsteps—with a few notable wedding day exceptions, of course.

We’re breaking down Kate, Meghan, and Queen Elizabeth’s favorite nail polish shades below, plus deets on where you can buy these colors for yourself.

Queen Elizabeth’s Favorite Nail Polish

Her Majesty the Queen will legit only let one shade of nail polish touch her fingertips: Essie’s beloved Ballet Slippers. According to legend, the Queen’s hairdresser requested that a bottle of Ballet Slippers be sent to Buckingham Palace all the way back in 1989, and the Queen never looked back.

Essie Nail Polish, Ballet Slippers

As the brand told Today, “This always elegant lacquer was born in 1982 and received royal blessings from the Queen of England, just seven years after its birth when Elizabeth II’s hairdresser sent (the brand’s founder) Essie Weingarten a letter requesting the shade to be directly delivered to Buckingham Palace in London!”

And did I mention a bottle won’t put you out more than $9? So yeah, it’s cheap, it’s chic, and it’s the only nail polish color the Queen is interested in, next.

Duchess Meghan Markle’s Fave Nail Polish

Let’s start with the gorgeous shade she wore on her wedding day. It was initially reported that Meghan went with the Queen’s fave, Ballet Slippers, but nope! According to British Vogue, she got her mani courtesy of DryBy London, who used one layer of CND Shellac’s Unmasked, paired with two layers of CND Shellac’s Negligee on top.

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Some other notable Meghan Markle nail moments? The time she was rumored to be wearing Rimmel’s Ivory Tower gel polish for her engagement shoot (it’s out of stock but check back because it could return from the beyond):

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And, of course, the time she stepped out with deep red nails at the British Fashion Awards —prompting everyone to assume she’d broken royal protocol. Which…she most certainly did not!

london, england december 10 meghan, duchess of sussex on stage during the fashion awards 2018 in partnership with swarovski at royal albert hall on december 10, 2018 in london, england photo by tristan fewingsbfcgetty images

Tristan Fewings/BFCGetty Images

As royal correspondent Omid Scobie told Harper’s BAZAAR, “There’s no actual protocol about dark nail polish. It’s simply about being appropriate—we’d never see this at a royal engagement. [The British Fashion Awards ceremony] is a celebration of fashion and there’s a lot more flexibility on what one can wear.”

Sadly we don’t know Meghan’s exact shade for this event, but in my opinion, OPI’s “Lincoln Park After Dark” is a great dupe.

Duchess Kate Middleton’s Favorite Nail Polish

Kate doesn’t wear nail polish on her hands that often, but—like Meghan—she went with a custom blend at the royal wedding. According to the Daily Mail, Kate wore a mixture of Bourjois So Laque No. 28 Rose Lounge and Essie’s Allure.

london, england april 29 wedding and engagement ring detail as catherine, the duchess of cambridge meets governors genaral and prime ministers at buckingham palace after her wedding to prince william on april 29, 2011 in central london, england the marriage of prince william, the second in line to the british throne, to catherine middleton is being held in london today the archbishop of canterbury conducted the service which was attended by 1900 guests, including foreign royal family members and heads of state thousands of well wishers from around the world have also flocked to london to witness the spectacle and pageantry of the royal wedding and street parties are being held throughout the uk photo by ian west wpa poolgetty images

WPA PoolGetty Images

Kate’s Rose Lounge appears to be out of stock across the internets (truly tragic), but fret not, because the Essie polish is still available and I’ll be adding it to my cart in 3, 2, 1…

Essie Nail Polish, Allure

P.S. Kate has yet to wear anything that ~colorful~ on her hands, but she has stepped out with a red pedicure, just in case you were curious:

the duchess of cambridge arrives for a dinner given by the thirty club at claridges in london photo by mark cuthbertuk press via getty images

Mark CuthbertGetty Images

Exact color TBD, but if you’re feeling ~inspired~ here are a few of our fave reds for 2021!

Last but Not Least, Princess Eugenie’s Fave Polish

We can’t leave without shouting out Princess Eugenie, who regularly gets fun manicures—in spite the royals’ preference for neutral shades. Here’s Eugenie’s Rudolph-inspired mani at a 2015 Christmas lunch hosted by her grandmother:

london, united kingdom december 16 embargoed for publication in uk newspapers until 48 hours after create date and time princess eugenie nail polish detail attends a christmas lunch for members of the royal family hosted by queen elizabeth ii at buckingham palace on december 16, 2015 in london, england photo by max mumbyindigogetty images

Max Mumby/IndigoGetty Images

And here she is wearing a Union Jack mani at the Derby:

epsom, england june 02 princess eugenie watches the derby sporting union jack nail varnish on june 2, 2012 in epsom, england for only the second time in its history, the uk celebrates the diamond jubilee of a monarch her majesty queen elizabeth ii celebrates the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the throne thousands of wellwishers from around the world have flocked to london to witness the spectacle of the weekends celebrations the queen along with all the members of the royal family will participate in a river pageant with a flotilla of 1,000 boats accompanying them down the thames, a star studded free concert at buckingham palace, and a carriage procession and a service of thanksgiving at st pauls cathedral photo by peter macdiarmidgetty images

Peter MacdiarmidGetty Images

Kay, if you need me, I’ll be waiting for the Queen to step out in these nails ^.

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