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Exclusive: The Surprising Frontrunner to Design Meghan's Wedding Dress Is…

The up-and-coming designer could score the fashion coup of the year.

While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet up with Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of the royal family (there has finally been a Kate Middleton sighting!) at Windsor Castle in the run-up to the wedding of the year on Saturday, the rest of the royal- and fashion-obsessed among us are focused on what kind of dress the bride will be wearing—and who will be designing it.

I can exclusively reveal that a surprising frontrunner has emerged. Richard Quinn, who was the first recipient of the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, presented by Her Majesty herself earlier this year, is said to be the dark horse among the other established design houses as the designer of the wedding dress.

My sources tell me that Meghan will wear two dresses. "A more traditional bridal gown which will be more covered up and, of course, a real statement dress, will be worn at the ceremony," said the insider. "Meghan started the process of selecting her dress immediately after the engagement announcement."

Quinn made news earlier this month when Amal Clooney wore one of his designs—a voluminous silver dress adorned with roses on the red carpet at the Met Gala in New York. Fashion insiders told Page Six that the human rights attorney had agreed to wear a specially designed dress by Tom Ford and changed her mind at the last minute. Instead, she changed out of Quinn's dress when she was out of photographers range and wore Ford's stain-glass window inspired design to the private dinner. Vogue and Ford's design team are reportedly furious because the photos on the red carpet at worth millions of dollars of publicity and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who arranged for Ford to dress Clooney for the event, put her on the cover of the recent issue.

"Amal introduced Meghan to Richard and she fell in love with his designs. By wearing a dress from him, she will really stand out from every other royal bride and she will be supporting an up and coming British designer," said my source. "It's brilliant, actually." Not so coincidentally, Amal and husband, George Clooney, are reportedly on the guest list for the wedding. "If he doesn't design the dress for the ceremony, Meghan may wear something of his for the evening dinner."

The other dress, worn to the black-tie dinner at Frogmore House, hosted by Prince Charles, will be "more pared down but at the same time sophisticated, glamorous and just a bit sexy."

According to insiders the other top names in the running are Ralph & Russo (who designed her $75,000 engagement portrait dress), Erdem, and Burberry.

Kate Middleton wore two stunning dresses to great effect when she married Prince William in 2011. She wore an instantly iconic Alexander McQueen dress designed by Sarah Burton with a fitted lace bodice with a v-neck and long sleeves for the ceremony. It was reported to have cost $434,000 (which her parents paid for). For the evening affair, she wore another dress by the designer—a white satin A-line gown with a diamante belt and mohair shrug. It was pure Kate perfection.

Meghan has enlisted the aid of stylist and wedding guest Jessica Mulroney in selecting her wedding dress. "Meghan knows the eyes of the world are going to be on her for this historic event, so the dress has to be perfect." No pressure there. And for what outfit the bridegroom is going to rock, Here's What Prince Harry Is Going to Wear to the Royal Wedding.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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