Catherine Middleton left the world breathless when she stepped out of her car in front of Westminster Abbey on Friday, giving the first glimpse of her couture Alexander McQueen wedding dress.
Members of the public will have to wait several months before they get a closer look at the gown when it goes on display in London, but new details about how Catherine kept the design a secret have emerged.
As soon as the engagement was announced, Catherine reportedly started looking for a designer. Settling on Sarah Burton from Alexander McQueen, she conducted the initial design meetings over the internet on Skype.
Later, fittings took place in secret in William and Catherine's rented farm house in Anglesey, Wales.
Even the embroiderers from the Royal School of Needlework were not told which bride would wear the handcrafted lace they were painstakingly working on.
At least 12 people crafted the lace the dress was made from, with the workforce aged between 19 and 70. They were required to wash their hands every 30 minutes to keep the lace clean, and changed needles every three hours to ensure their work was perfect.
"We've all enjoyed the experience," one of the Royal School of Needlework's embroiderers told the UK's Daily Mail. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance. We've worked as a team and we are pleased with the response to the dress.
"It makes it worth all the years of training as an embroiderer."
Once the lace was delivered, Sarah set her seamstresses to work on different sections of the gown. They were forbidden to talk to each other so no one but Sarah and Catherine knew the full design.
All work was completed in a locked room at the Alexander McQueen headquarters in Clerkenwell, with seamstresses being smuggled in each night under cover of darkness to avoid arousing suspicion amongst regular staff.
Once the delicate hand-sewing was complete, the sections of the gown were sent Buckingham Palace, where Sarah stitched them together in a special locked work room just days before the big day.
The completed gown spent a few nights under lock and key at Clarence House, before being moved to the Goring Hotel the night before the wedding.
Catherine's dress is expected to go on display in Kensington Palace or the Victoria and Albert Museum. It might also appear at Buckingham Palace as early as next month.
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