On Wednesday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will celebrate their ninth wedding anniversary. I can vividly remember the jovial atmosphere in the days leading up to the wedding. It marked the beginning of a new generation of royal watchers, who were thrilled to see Kate Middleton marry her prince and of course her bridal style. From the dress to the veil, the tiara to the beauty look, Kate was all parts stunning and in turn influenced trends and inspired brides all around the world. Tonight, we're revisiting the individual pieces which combined to create an iconic royal bride.
Choosing the perfect wedding dress is no simple task, and it's another thing entirely when your wedding be watched by millions all over the world. It also represented a day when Kate entered the Royal family and the historic institution that is the monarchy. The gown would be exhibited and the photos a part of history. Up until then we had only seen Kate in a handful of gowns - typically sleek fitted Issa pieces for a handful of events. For the big day, I anticipated we would see an elegant, traditional gown with elements of modernity and personal touches. We saw our very first glimpse when Kate left the Goring Hotel with her father Mike...
Speculation on the chosen designer had been rife for months. Would it be quintessentially British fashion house Burberry? Perhaps Alice Temperley, a firm favourite of the Middleton women. About two weeks before the wedding, we began to hear Sarah Burton's name increasingly, with reports claiming she had won the coveted commission. The Cheshire-born designer had taken over as creative designer at Alexander McQueen only a year before, following the tragic passing of her dear friend Lee McQueen. The brand had come to Kate's attention in 2005 when she attended the wedding of the Duchess of Cornwall's son Tom Barker Bowles and Sarah Buys, for whom the fashion house had designed the wedding dress.
During the final rehearsals, Sarah Burton was seen delivering a dress bag to Kate at Clarence House. My guess is Kate's evening wedding dress was being delivered, as on the big day she changed at Charles and Camilla's official residence before the evening reception. With the preparations and the gown completed, it was time for a celebratory hug.
Kate stepped out upon arrival at Westminster Abbey to rousing cheers and applause, and we had our first proper look at the bride who will one day become queen consort.
Kate was radiant and the reaction from your faithful blogger and the eager royal watchers was a unanimous "wow".
According to various reports and insights from the wedding, as Kate and her father made their way through the abbey, Harry turned to his brother and said: "She is here now. Well, she looks beautiful, I can tell you that." William turned to Kate and said: "You look beautiful."
As the ceremony commenced we saw the exquisite attention to detail on the gown. Sarah Burton said: "I think what we wanted to achieve was something that was incredibly beautiful and intricately worked. A lot of it is in the subtlety of the detail, the handcrafted lace, and the cuts and the shapes and the folds involved in the construction of the dress, yet we still had to remember it was in Westminster Abbey so it still had to have a presence. It was this idea of having a dress with a presence and of historical importance yet being modern at the same time."
More from the Telegraph:
'Sarah Burton went to such lengths to hide her involvement that she told no-one but a core group of colleagues who were to assist her in the design. "It was so great to actually keep a secret, especially in this day and age when everyone talks about everything." Burton's parents, Anthony and Diane Heard, were told only on the eve of the ceremony. To find out just what their daughter had created, the couple had to join the crowds on the Mall and catch a glimpse of the Duchess via a periscope. She was unable to tell them earlier because she was bound by a confidentiality agreement with Buckingham Palace.
Burton kept up an elaborate charade for months. "Because my core team knew, it was okay for me to disappear and then come back, and then disappear again. But I remember other people asking me, 'Are you coming in on Friday?' And I'd say, 'Oh, yeah, see you in the morning'. I'd be scheduling meetings knowing full well I wasn't going to be there for them," she told Vogue .
On the day of the wedding, the designer accompanied the Duchess to Westminster Abbey and made the final adjustments to the nine-foot train. "I remember standing in Westminster Abbey thinking, 'This is unreal'. It was like a fairy tale. And all I could think was, 'I hope I don't trip over'. I didn't realise the enormity of it until much nearer the wedding day. It was a magical experience," she said.'
The Palace said: "Miss Middleton chose British brand Alexander McQueen for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing. Miss Middleton wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterises Alexander McQueen’s work. Miss Middleton worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress. The dress epitomises timeless British craftsmanship by drawing together talented and skilled workmanship from across the United Kingdom. The dress design pays tribute to the Arts and Crafts tradition, which advocated truth to materials and traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often Romantic styles of decoration."
Symbolism to honour the United Kingdom was incorporated with the rose for England, the thistle for Scotland, the Shamrock for Ireland and the daffodil for Wales. The Palace revealed more on this process: "The lace appliqué for the bodice and skirt was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace. The lace design was hand-engineered (appliquéd) using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique, which originated in Ireland in the 1820s. Individual flowers have been hand-cut from lace and hand-engineered onto ivory silk tulle to create a unique and organic design, which incorporates the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock." With laces coming from different sources, a great deal of time and care ensured that each flower was the same colour.
The dress was made with ivory and white satin gazar.
The skirt echoes an opening flower with white satin gazar arches and pleats.
The back was finished with fifty-eight gazar and organza-covered buttons fastened by rouleau loops, while the underskirt was made of silk tulle trimmed with Cluny lace.
A closer look at the sweeping train.
You'll remember Ms Burton and Pippa Middleton adjusting the train at the Abbey.
Kate's veil was made of layers of ivory tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers.
It was embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework. They did a superb job.
Kate's hair was worn in a simple but elegant demi chignon created by James Pryce of Richard Ward's salon. The veil was held in place by the Cartier Halo tiara, loaned to the Duchess by Her Majesty.
The Cartier Halo tiara was made by Cartier in 1936 and purchased by the Duke of York (later King George VI) for the Duchess of York (later the Queen Mother). It is a striking piece composed of stylised petals, paved with seven hundred and thirty-nine brilliant-cut diamonds and a hundred and forty-nine baguette-cut diamonds. The name derives from its halo appearance. There's a simplicity to it and it's steeped in royal history making it a very fitting choice for Kate.
Indeed, it has been described as a "starter tiara" for royal ladies over the years. Apparently it wasn't a favourite of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and she soon passed it on to her daughter Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) as an 18th birthday gift, however, she never wore it publicly. It was quickly lent to other royal ladies, most noticeably Princess Margaret who wore it several times as an early tiara, as did Princess Anne in the early 1970s. We never saw the Duchess wear it again, having graduated from the piece to two "heavy hitters" from the royal collection: the Queen's Mother Lotus Flower tiara and Diana's Lover's Knot tiara.
Kate's earrings were a gift from her parents inspired by the Middleton family's coat of arms which includes acorns and oak leaves, the design was chosen to complement the tiara. Michael and Carole commissioned Robinson Pelham to create the pear-shaped, diamond-set drop earrings. We've seen Kate wear them on several occasions since.
Kate's ivory duchesse satin shoes were made by Alexander McQueen with lace hand-embroidery in a size five and a half.
Kate's bouquet was created by Shane Connolly and drew on flowers of significance for the Royal family and the Middleton family. More from Royal.UK:
"The flowers’ meanings in the bouquet are:
Lily-of-the-valley Return of happiness
Sweet William Gallantry
Hyacinth Constancy of love
Ivy: Fidelity; marriage; wedded love; friendship; affection
Myrtle: the emblem of marriage; love.
The bouquet contains stems from a myrtle planted at Osborne House, Isle of Wight, by Queen Victoria in 1845, and a sprig from a plant grown from the myrtle used in the Queen’s wedding bouquet of 1947.
The tradition of carrying myrtle begun after Queen Victoria was given a nosegay containing myrtle by Prince Albert’s grandmother during a visit to Gotha in Germany. In the same year, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought Osborne House as a family retreat, and a sprig from the posy was planted against the terrace walls, where it continues to thrive today.
The myrtle was first carried by Queen Victoria eldest daughter, Princess Victoria, when she married in 1858, and was used to signify the traditional innocence of a bride."
Following a flurry of enquiries, Clarence House revealed Kate's wedding perfume was White Gardenia Petals by Illuminum. The light floral scent has a hint of coconut, ylang-ylang, jasmine and lily of the valley, laid on the base of amber wood.
Kate wanted to do her own make up and created a beauty look featuring her soft smoky eye, pink blush and matching lipstick with products she loved with just a little "make up artistry assistance" from Bobbi Brown's Hannah Martin.
Kate wore the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Foundation, which is often described as "weightless" and glides on with a "second skin feel". Kate highlighted her cheekbones with Bobbi Brown pale blush and wore the Shimmer Brick Compact bronzer. To balance her smoke eye, Kate wore Sandwash Pink lipstick with a light layer of lip gloss. For eye make up, Kate is a fan of Bobbi Brown's Dark Brow Kit, Lancome's much-adored Hypnose mascara, and Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat complexion highlighter, also known as the "miracle pen". Manicurist Marina Sandoval used Essie nail polish and Bourjois So Laque Nail Enamel in rose.
It's been such fun to take this trip down memory lane; I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.