Kate's Secret Meetings With Dress Designer At Henry VIII's Favourite Palace

01/05/2011 10:54 | Updated 22 May 2015

Kate Middleton's wedding dress was covered in beautifully intricate lace applique. Photo: AFP/Getty

We knew it was a clandestine operation, but the magnitude of effort that Kate Middleton went to keep her dress designer secret has now been revealed.

She was so determined to keep details about the dress under wraps until her wedding day, that she discussed ideas with Mrs Burton, the creative director of British brand Alexander McQueen, say the tourist attraction was chosen because it offered both privacy and proximity to the Royal School of Needlework.

The school is situated in the east wing of the palace and was commissioned to provide lace for Kate's wedding gown and shoes.

Hampton Court was also a convenient place for Kate when she travelled between her family home in Bucklebury, Berkshire, and Prince William's apartment, which he shares with Prince Harry, at St James' Palace.

The full extent of the Great Royal Wedding Dress Designer Secret has became clear with the disclosure that even the network of embroiderers who handcrafted the lace were not told the name of the designer.

They found out it was for the royal wedding just minutes before Kate arrived at Westminster Abbey.

The lace applique, which featured the four floral emblems of the UK – rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock – was made using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique, which originated in Ireland in the 1820s.

According to the Daily Mail, part-time needle-workers, aged 19 to 70, laboured tirelessly to complete the order. The process is so time-consuming that it takes even experienced stitchers about an hour to sew an inch.

The embroiderers also reportedly washed their hands every 30 minutes while making the lace to ensure it was pristine and replaced their needles every three hours to keep them sharp and clean.

Mrs Burton sourced a series of lace motifs to create a unique design. Each motif, some as small as a five-pence piece, was then crafted with minute stitches every two to three millimetres.

And the result was absolutely stunning - leading William to tell her "You look beautiful" as Kate arrived at his side at the altar.

What do you think of the detailed lace appliqué on the dress? Let us know below...


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