Kate Middleton’s wedding to Prince William was a real-life fairytale.
Prince William and Kate Middleton on their wedding day in 2011.It’s estimated that two billion people from 180 countries tuned in to see the April 29, 2011 wedding of Prince William to his long-time love, Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London.
In the United States, more than 23 million viewers woke up early to watch the royal wedding of William and Kate, outnumbering the 17 million who tuned into the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.
While there were many memorable moments from the 2011 wedding, nothing can compare to the moment the world caught a glimpse of Kate Middleton’s breathtaking wedding gown.
To celebrate the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, we’re taking a look back at some of the biggest royal weddings in British history. Today, we’re sharing the details behind Kate Middleton’s unforgettable wedding gown.
Middleton arrived to Westminster Abbey with her father, Michael Middleton, in the Queen’s Rolls Royce Phantom VI.
Stepping out of the vehicle, fans caught their first glimpse of Middleton in her wedding gown by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen that cost $434,000 USD.
On the day of the wedding, Kensington Palace issued a statement revealing the designer of the gown that read, “Miss Middleton wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterizes Alexander McQueen’s work. “
The dress was Victorian inspired, featuring a corseted bodice. Middleton’s hips were padded slightly to accentuate her narrow waist.
The train of Middleton’s gown was short compared to Princess Diana’s. At 25 feet long, Diana’s train is still the longest in royal history. Middleton’s gown still made a dramatic impact, at almost nine-feet-long, with the back of her dress featuring 58 buttons.
The gown featured handmade lace appliqué created by the Royal School of Needlework located in Hampton Court Palace. Made with a technique that dates back to the 1820s, the floral embroidery on the sleeves was a tribute to the United Kingdom. The design featured roses, daffodils, thistles and shamrocks, which are the emblems of the four countries in the United Kingdom: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The dress featured English and French Chantilly lace on it’s bodice, skirt and the underskirt.
Middleton’s “something borrowed” was the Queen’s Cartier Halo tiara. The tiara was given as a gift by the Queen’s father, King George VI, to the Queen Mother in 1936. When Queen Elizabeth turned eighteen, her grandmother, The Queen Mother, gifted her the tiara as a birthday present.
Sarah Burton and the team at Alexander McQueen sewed blue ribbon into the interior of the bridal gown as Kate’s “something blue.”
Middleton’s bouquet featured the customary sprig of myrtle, a tradition that dates back to Queen Victoria’s wedding. Myrtle is used in all royal wedding bouquets to symbolize fertility. Kate also carried lily-of-the-valley, hyacinth and sweet William, as a tribute to the groom.
For the evening reception at Buckingham Palace, Middleton changed into another McQueen creation – a strapless gown with embellished waist detailing and a white shrug.
Middleton’s wedding gown was on display as part of an exhibit at Buckingham Palace months after the wedding. The dress and tiara were open for public viewing from July to October 2011.