Bookmakers have suspended bets on Meghan Markle’s wedding dress designer amid swirling speculation that she has chosen a gown by Ralph & Russo.
Ladbrokes announced it has ‘pulled the plug’ on the race following a flurry of recent reports that the bride-to-be has chosen to the British label for the big day.
Meghan, 36, who will tie the knot with Prince Harry at Windsor Castle on May 19, caused a stir when she donned a sheer gown by the designer for her official engagement photos.
Meghan Markle, who will tie the knot with Prince Harry at Windsor Castle on May 19, caused a stir when she donned a sheer gown by Ralph & Russo for her official engagement photos, pictured. Now it looks like the bride-to-be might wear the designer on her big day
Prices for Ralph & Russo start at £30,000 and customers admitted by appointment only. Pictured, a model in an unusual pleated creation from the designer’s January show
A spokesman for Ladbrokes said: ‘It looks as though Meghan’s made her mind up as far as her dress is concerned, so we’ve decided to pull the plug for the time being.’
Before betting suspended, Ralph & Russo were clear 1/3 favourites, ahead of the likes of Erdem at 3/1, Roland Mouret at 4/1 and Victoria Beckham at 6/1.
Rival bookies Paddy Power previously suspended bets after it was believed Ms Markle had chosen to copy Kate and wear Alexander McQueen for her wedding.
Based in a seven-storey Mayfair salon overlooking the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Ralph & Russo was the first British fashion house to be invited to the Paris couture shows in a century.
With prices starting at £30,000 and customers admitted by appointment only, it could provide the expected combination of royal elegance and Hollywood glamour.
Priced at a staggering £55,980, Meghan’s Ralph & Russo engagement dress, pictured, comprised a silk organza skirt, hand appliqued with silk tulle ruffles, and a sheer bodice
The label was founded in 2007 by Australians Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo (both pictured)
It specialises in elaborate couture dresses studded with crystals, feathers, iridescent metallic features and floor-sweeping trains.
Adored by A-list Americans such as Beyonce and Gwyneth Paltrow, Ralph & Russo made the skirt suit that Angelina Jolie wore to accept her honorary damehood from the Queen in 2014.
Meghan, 36, has already demonstrated her fondness for the duo’s hand-made creations by wearing a daring transparent gown in her official engagement photos.
Priced at a staggering £55,980, the outfit comprised a silk organza skirt, hand appliqued with silk tulle ruffles, and a sheer bodice decorated with intricate gold feather thread-work and beads.
Ralph & Russo has enjoyed huge success since its launc; it specialises in elaborate and beautiful couture dresses, studded with crystals and embellishments and floor-sweeping trains (pictured: their Spring/Summer 2018 couture collection)
Known as couture’s coolest couple, Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo were both born in Australia but founded their business with only a sewing machine and an ironing board in London in 2007. Tamara, who is the same age as Meghan, is the daughter and granddaughter of Sydney couturiers. She met Michael, then a financial consultant in London, on her first day on holiday in the capital in 2003.
Said to be growing by 400 per cent a year, the brand was given a nine-figure valuation when Phones4U billionaire John Caudwell bought 7 per cent of it in 2014.
One thing certain is that the gown Meghan wears at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, will be infinitely more intricate — and expensive — than her wedding dress when she married her first husband, American film producer Trevor Engelson, in 2011.
Then, she opted for a white bohemian-style, strapless floor-length gown with a notch neckline. It was, however, in keeping with the laid-back feel of the ceremony, held on a beach in Jamaica.
A Ralph & Russo spokesman said: ‘We will be politely declining to comment on this topic.’ Kensington Palace has been contacted for comment.