How Kate Middleton Kept Her Sarah Burton Wedding Dress a Secret
Ever since Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement last year, there was one burning question on every girl’s mind – who would design her wedding dress? Believe it or not, no one except a few members of the Middleton family and the Alexander McQueen design team knew the truth. Royal wedding dress rumors were rife, even though designers denied them all. Between fittings and consultation, how did Kate manage to keep her wedding dress and designer a secret from the public until the wedding?
Close friends say that Kate already knew what her dream wedding dress would look like, even before Prince William proposed to her – she was attracted to Grace Kelly’s understated elegance, and wanted a similar lace dress. So when William finally popped the question, Kate’s first destination was Vogue magazine. According to Editor Alexandra Shulman, she submitted a list of designers and put Sarah Burton’s name on the top. Kate Middleton also consulted Sara Buys, the wife of Tom Parker Bowles, a fashion editor who also picked Sarah Burton.
No one knows when the dress was officially commissioned, but insiders say that Sarah Burton and the members of her team were absolutely forbidden to confirm if they had been approached or chosen. The standard denial was worded by St James’ Palace: ‘We’re not going to comment on any speculation about the bridal gown or who might be making it. Miss Middleton is keen to keep one secret for the big day.’ To keep the media off their trail, the first consultations were done through Skype, and personal fittings were done at Kate and William’s farmhouse in Anglesey, Wales.
The dress was sewn in separate sections and assembled at the last moment, inside a special workroom set up at Buckingham Palace. The Royal School of Needlework did the lacework for the dress, and employed 12 students from Britain, the US, Thailand, Germany, China and Japan, who were between 19 and 70 years old. To keep the lace and threads pristine, they had to wash their hands every 30 minutes and renew the needles every three hours. However, the team who painstakingly stitched the lacework were not told which bride would end up with their beautiful embroidery. In fact, they didn’t even know who the designer was until the rest of the world knew, but were beyond thrilled when the dress received a wonderful reception around the world.
Kate Middleton will be putting her gorgeous wedding dress on display as a fund-raiser for a charity close to her heart. No news about where or when the wedding gown will be showcased, but it may be placed inside the Buckingham Palace just in time for its annual summer opening.