On April 29, 2011 the world got its FIRST LOOK at Kate Middleton, the now Duchess of Cambridge, wearing her stunning Alexander McQueen wedding dress on the day she said I Do to now hubby Prince William of Wales. This weekend, folks in London will have the opportunity to see the dress (and other Royal Wedding items) on display at Buckingham Palace. Kate’s McQueen dress is the jewel in the crown, as it were, of the Summer Exhibition at Buckingham Palace and starting tomorrow YOU will have the chance to see the dress up close and personal. BUT, if you can’t make it out to the exhibition in London, you can check out some great photos of the dress on display below.
Amid the pomp and splendour of a truly unforgettable day, The Dress was undoubtedly the star of the show. And just like the most gracious stars, the Duchess of Cambridge’s stunning wedding gown is returning for an encore. Those of us who admired it from the comfort of our sofas at home, can now see the £250,000 Alexander McQueen dress right up close – if we can get our hands on what is rapidly becoming the hottest ticket in town. The dress is to take pride of place at Buckingham Palace’s annual summer exhibition this year, ensuring we can bask in the afterglow of Kate and William’s wedding day just that little bit longer. While most brides carefully wrap their bridal gowns in tissue paper and store them away with their memories, Kate’s will be shared with the nation all over again. In fact visitors can relive every joyful moment of the day, with everything from the Duchess’s veil to her shoes and even the royal wedding cake on display. Record demand means advance ticket sales are more than double on last year’s summer opening, with 600,000 people paying £17.50 per ticket to troop through the doors over the next ten weeks. That would comfortably beat the palace’s previous highest attendance of 420,000 in 1994 … The Duchess herself was treated to a sneak preview on Wednesday night when she stole another look at the dress that featured an intricate Grace Kelly-inspired lace bodice hand-stitched by the world’s best seamstresses at the Royal School of Needlework. The craftswomen had no idea what their commission was for, such was the secrecy surrounding the design. The bodice was cinched into a tiny waist above the full silk skirt. The exhibition’s curator Caroline de Guitaut would not be drawn on what size it was, saying only: ‘Small.’ Then there are the shoes, barely noticed in the excitement of the day, which are worth a look in their full glory. If you stoop beside the glass case, the tiny letters that reveal Kate’s shoe size, five and a half, are just visible. At a willowy 5’10”, she certainly has a dainty pair of feet. Also created by the McQueen creative director Sarah Burton and her team, the shoes feature yet more impressive lace detailing hand-stitched over ivory duchess satin. They appear to have been barely worn as, apart from stepping outside the Goring Hotel into her waiting car as a single woman, Kate spent most of the day walking on carpet … in the Ballroom, where the couple’s reception was held, visitors can see the 1936 Cartier tiara, glittering with 1,000 diamonds, that the Queen lent to Kate as her ‘something borrowed’ item. The Duchess will join Her Majesty to formally open the exhibition this afternoon. It also includes a short video, featuring Sarah Burton talking about her inspiration for the dress and Kate’s ‘hands-on’ involvement in the design process. She explains that the Duchess had hands on involvement and wanted to create a gown with “presence and of historical importance” but one that had a contemporary feel. ‘We wanted to look to the past, yet look to the future as well,’ she says. Finally to the State Dining Room, where visitors can see some of the eight-tiered wedding cake designed by Fiona Cairns. Sadly, the top three levels on display are not the originals. The uppermost two were kept by the newlyweds, in line with tradition which says you should keep them to serve at your first child’s christening, while the third was served to guests … The Royal Wedding Dress: A Story of Great British Design runs until October 3 at Buckingham Palace. Tickets are priced at £17.50 and can be obtained from royalcollection.org.uk or 0207 766 7300.
Wow, this exhibit sounds amazing. Let me tell you, if I were able to be in London to see this dress in person, I would SO be there. It really looks like they did a fantastic job putting everything on display. And about the wedding cake, I never knew about the tradition of saving the top tiers to serve at your first child’s christening. I know that single wedding guests who sleep with a piece of wedding cake under their pillow will dream of the person they will marry but the top tier tradition is a new one for me. But, I’m digressing. This royal wedding dress exhibition sounds so cool … I hope those of you who are able to attend will do so.