NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 10: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the 2021 Salute To Freedom Gala at Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum on November 10, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

For the first time in two years—during which they left the British royal family, relocated to America, had a second child and weathered a pandemic—Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have officially made their red carpet return. 

On Wednesday night in New York City, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made an appearance at the 2021 Salute to Freedom Gala, where Prince Harry was set to make a speech and hand out medals honouring members of the military. For the occasion, Markle opted for one of her favourite colours: bright red, a hue she’s proven time upon time looks beautiful and elegant on her.

The 40-year-old arrived on the red carpet wearing a show-stopping plunging sleeveless gown by Carolina Herrera, which features a daring leg-split and V-neck detailing. Markle paired the dress with matching velvet red slingback heels, a pair of diamond earrings, and an elegant updo. 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 10: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the 2021 Salute To Freedom Gala at Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum on November 10, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

For her beauty, the duchess opted for fresh and glowing, wearing her signature subtle smokey eye a twist: adding a hint of plum for her on-trend cat-eye. She wore blush and highlighter to flush her cheeks, and wore her brunette hair pulled back into a sleek top knot bun. 

Prince Harry, who served in the British armed forces for 10 years, was dressed handsomely for the evening as well, wearing a classic black tuxedo with a bowtie and ensuring to hold his wife’s hand for the duration of their red carpet appearance. The couple both wore red poppy flower pins as a nod to the U.K.’s Remembrance Day on November 11th.

Later that evening in his speech, Harry discussed the isolation service members often feel when returning home, stressing the importance of supporting veterans. “My experience in the military made me who I am today, and I will always be grateful for the people I got to serve with—wherever in the world we were,” the Duke, who served a decade in the British army and two tours in Afghanistan, told the room. Per People, at one point, a reporter asked Markle if she was proud of her husband, to which she replied, “I’m always proud of him.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 10: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend the 2021 Salute To Freedom Gala at Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum on November 10, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

This week, the couple have separately made appearances to speak about matters important to them. Markle appeared on the New York Times‘ Dealbook Online Summit to discuss the importance of paid parental leave for all and economic equity for women, where she mentioned the tabloids that have been harassing her since she was first linked to Harry in 2016.

“I would urge you not to read tabloids, because I don’t think that that’s healthy for anyone. Hopefully one day they come with a warning label like cigarettes do, like ‘this is toxic for your mental health,’” she said, before later, on the topic of paid leave, saying, “There’s certainly a precedent amongst my husband’s family and the royal family of not having any involvement in politics, but paid leave, from my standpoint, is a humanitarian issue. My husband has always said, ‘With great privilege comes great responsibility,’ but even before I had any sort of privilege in my life, when my life and my lifestyle were very different, I always just stood up for what’s right.”

thoughts?