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Meghan Markle Shows Off Growing Bump While Breaking Major Protocol At Fashion Event

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Ever since returning from her first-ever royal tour in November, mom-to-be Meghan Markle has kept a relatively low profile.

The Duchess of Sussex significantly cut back on her public engagements to focus on her pregnancy and prepare for her and husband Prince Harry's move from Kensington Palace to Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle.

She recently did surprise royal watchers when she took part in a meeting with The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) at King’s College London to discuss "the role of higher education in addressing issues such as human trafficking, modern slavery, gender equality, peace and reconciliation, and climate change."

However, what no one expected was her attendance at this year's British Fashion Awards, which took place on December 10.

The former actress made the unannounced appearance at the Royal Albert Hall for a very special reason - to present her wedding dress designer, Givenchy's artistic director Claire Waight Keller, with the British Womenswear Designer of the Year award.

Dressed in a floor length, one-shoulder black dress, Meghan took to the stage to deliver a speech before giving Claire the trophy.

“It is such an honor to be here celebrating British fashion and British fashion designers in my new home of the U.K.,” Meghan said.

“I feel especially proud to announce tonight’s winner, who is a British designer leading on the global stage with vision and creativity, but also with incredible kindness," she added.

“I got to know Meghan on such a personal level,” the British designer said in her acceptance speech. “To have someone like that trust you in an incredible moment in their life is something that is just the most unbelievable honor. I can’t thank you enough because it was the most beautiful moment.”

While Meghan's unexpected attendance and growing baby bump were enough to get people talking, it was her choice of nail polish that caused quite a stir.

The Suits alum broke one of the royal family's most notable protocols by opting out of wearing the standard clear or pale pink polish that the royal women are known for.

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According to etiquette experts, there's a rule that royal women aren't allowed to wear dark or colorful polishes at official events, but being the rebel that she is, Meghan has broken the rule in a major way.

On top of that, the duchess made a rare move and relived her days as a Hollwyood star by posing for a candid photo booth snap alongside Claire and actress Rosamund Pike.

This wouldn't be the first time that the new royal has broken the rules with her fashion choices.

Markle first broke the unofficial royal protocol when she stepped out bare-legged for her wedding announcement in November. Most royals typically wear pantyhose when they wear a dress to avoid showing some skin.

During her first public appearance, she stepped out in London with her tied up in a messy bun, which was frowned upon by some royal watchers.

"The untidy topknot was not becoming. Ok these two need to grow up they aren’t teens or in their 20’s anymore. Harry is early 30’s and Meghan is almost 40. She can’t keep pushing the envelope, eventually the Queen is going to step in and take her to task. We need dignity," tweeted one unimpressed royal fan.

Kudos to Meghan for not letting her new role as duchess get in the way of her personal style and individuality.

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.