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Press release

The Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress to go on display at Buckingham Palace this summer

Release date: Monday, 6 June 2011

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Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace
23 July – 3 October 2011

The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress, designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, will go on display at Buckingham Palace during the annual Summer Opening (23 July – 3 October 2011).  The Duchess chose British brand Alexander McQueen for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing.  Her Royal Highness worked closely with Sarah Burton in formulating the design of her dress.

The dress is made from ivory and white satin-gazar (stiffened organza).  The shape of the skirt, with arches and pleats, echoes an opening flower, and the ivory satin bodice, which is narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips, draws on the Victorian tradition of corsetry – a hallmark of Alexander McQueen’s designs.  The back of the dress is finished with 58 gazar- and organza-covered buttons fastened by Rouleau loops.  The underskirt is made of silk tulle trimmed with Cluny lace.  The train measures 2.7 metres. 

The Duchess’s wedding dress reflects the work of skilled craftsmen and women from across the United Kingdom.  The lace appliqué for the bodice and skirt was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework, founded in 1872.  The lace was produced using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique, which originated in Ireland in the 1820s.  Individual flowers were hand-cut from lace and hand-engineered on to ivory silk-tulle to create a design that incorporates the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock.  Each lace motif, some as small as a 5-pence piece, was applied with minute stitches every two to three millimetres. 

The bride’s veil, made of layers of soft, ivory silk-tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers, was also embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework. The veil was held in place by the Cartier ‘Halo’ tiara, which was lent to The Duchess by The Queen.  The tiara is formed as a band of 16 graduated scrolls set with 739 brilliants and 149 baton diamonds, each scroll being divided by a graduated brilliant with a large brilliant at the centre. The tiara was made in 1936 and purchased by The Duke of York (later King George VI) for The Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) three weeks before he succeeded his brother as King.  The tiara was presented to Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen) by her mother on the occasion of her 18th birthday.

The Duchess’s wedding shoes, hand-made by the team at Alexander McQueen, of ivory duchesse satin and lace embroidered by the Royal School of Needlework, will also form part of the display, as will the diamond earrings worn by The Duchess on her wedding day.  Commissioned by the Middleton family as a personal gift to the bride from her parents, they were created by the London-based jewellers Robinson Pelham.  The design, of stylised oak leaves with a pear-shaped diamond-set drop and a pavé-set diamond acorn suspended in the centre, was inspired by the Middleton family's new coat of arms.

To complement the wedding dress display, The Duke and Duchess’s wedding cake created by Leicestershire-based cake designer Fiona Cairns will be shown in the State Dining Room.  The multi-tiered traditional fruit cake was hand-made using British ingredients and decorated with sugar flowers.

The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress and the royal wedding cake will be on display as part of the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, which also includes the special exhibition Royal Fabergé.


Tickets and visitor information www.royalcollection.org.uk (+44) (0)20 7766 7300.

Additional Information

The 1977 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI in which The Duchess of Cambridge travelled to Westminster Abbey, and the 1902 State Landau carriage used by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to travel along the Processional Route to Buckingham Palace, are now on public display as part of a visit to the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace.  Tickets and visitor information: (+44) (0)20 7766 7302 or www.royalcollection.org.uk

The special exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, Royal Fabergé, explores how six successive generations of the British Royal Family, from Queen Victoria to Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, have shaped the finest collection of Fabergé in the world – unparalleled in size, range and quality.  The exhibition includes many pieces exchanged as personal gifts between the British and Imperial Russian Royal Families in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to mark special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.

For media enquiries relating to the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace and to register your interest in any media facilities, please contact the Royal Collection Press Office, +44 (0)20 7839 1377,[email protected].

For media enquiries relating to The Duchess of Cambridge, please contact Clarence House Press Office, +44 (0)20 7024 5506.

Admission to Buckingham Palace is managed by the Royal Collection Trust, a charity registered in England and Wales (1016972) and in Scotland (SCO39772).