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Almost a decade after the royal wedding, ‘Kate Middleton wedding dress’ is still one of the most Googled dresses in the world. The elegant lace number, designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, was reminiscent of Grace Kelly’s 1956 wedding gown and has been inspiring bridal looks everywhere since.
Kate Middleton wedding dress details
After months of secrecy, it was finally revealed that Catherine Middleton’s dress had been designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen.
Buckingham Palace revealed that Kate chose the label for the beauty of its craftsmanship, and knew they would be able to combine the tradition and modernity she was after.
The dress was of ivory and white satin gazar, and the skirt mimicked an ‘opening flower’ thanks to white satin gazar arches and pleats, and the train measured 2m70 (about 8.8ft). It featured a narrowed waist and padded hips, as a nod to the Victorian tradition of corsetry which Alexander McQueen is known for.
There was a delicate pattern of lace across the bodice and skirt, which was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace, using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique, which originated in Ireland in the 1820s.
As with Meghan Markle’s wedding dress and veil, symbolic flowers were sewn into the lace pattern. These included the flowers of the United Kingdom: the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock.
Kate Middleton’s veil was fairly simple, made of layers of soft, ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers. Tt was held in place by the Cartier Halo tiara, lent by The Queen. It was commissioned in 1936 by King George VI for The Queen Mother, who later gifted it to her daughter for her 18th birthday.
The bride also wore diamond earrings by Robinson Pelham, a gift from her parents. These consisted of diamond-set stylised oak leaves with a pear shaped diamond set drop and a pavé set diamond acorn suspended in the centre, mimicking the Middleton family’s new coat of arms, which includes acorns and oak leaves.
We didn’t see much of the Duchess’ wedding shoes on the day, but we do know they were hand-made by the team at Alexander McQueen and were court shoes made of ivory duchesse satin and hand-embroidered lace, to match the dress.
Kate Middleton evening wedding dress
For her wedding reception, Kate changed into a second stunning dress, also designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. It was simpler and easier to move in, no doubt enabling the bride to hit the dance floor at Buckigham Palace.
The dress was strapless and featured a sweetheart neckline, with a nipped-in waist and A-line skirt, all made of ivory satin as a nod to the first dress. It was embellished at the waist with a crystal belt, and the bride kept warm with a cropped wool cardigan.
How much did Kate Middleton’s wedding dress cost?
Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge’s dress was custom made, using the finest materials and techniques such as lace appliqué embroidery which would have taken hours and hours to do. For example, seamstresses had to wash their hands every 30 minutes to make sure the lace remained pristine.
So it’s understandable it would have a price tag to match, which is estimated to be around £250,000, making it one of the most expensive dresses of all time. In historic value though, you could argue it’s priceless.
Naturally, a lot of people want to know who paid for the dress, but the Palace never released that particular info. It’s usually traditional for the parents of the bride to foot the bill, so it’s thought Michael and Carol Middleton paid the rumoured £250,000, though this has neither been confirmed nor denied.
Where is Kate Middleton’s wedding dress now?
As is tradition with many royal weddings, Kate’s dress went on display in the Ballroom at Buckingham Palace shortly after the wedding. The Kate Middleton wedding dress exhibition ran from July to October 2011 and was highly successful, with 600,000 buying a ticket to see it.
Also on display were the bride’s tiara and earrings, as well as her wedding shoes, a replica of her wedding bouquet and the extravagant wedding cake created by Leicestershire-based cake designer Fiona Cairns.
We don’t really know what happened to the dress after that, but it would be safe to assume it’s being kept in pristine condition in storage somewhere at Buckingham Palace or Kensington Palace, where the couple and their three children live most of the year.