Catherine, Princess of Wales and Prince William, Prince of Wales kiss on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on April 29, 2011 in London, England.

Catherine, Princess of Wales and Prince William, Prince of Wales kiss on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on April 29, 2011 in London, England. Getty

On April 29, 2011, over 36.7 million people tuned in to watch Prince William marry Kate Middleton, and what was everyone talking about... Kate Middleton's wedding dress. 

Twelve years ago the Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince William and Kate Middleton were married at Westminister Abbey. Their wedding came after a ten-year relationship. William and Kate now have three children Prince George (10), Princess Charlotte (8), and Prince Louis (5).

The Royal couple, who had met in college, married in April 2011 with all the pomp and ceremony we've come to expect from a British Royal wedding. Center-stage, of course, was Kate Middleton's elegant, detailed wedding dress, which the world fell in love with.

What made the gown all the more special was that it was entirely a surprise. No one knew the details of the gown until Kate stepped out of her car at Westminster Abbey, in London. 

Kate Middleton's wedding dress was designed by the British designer, Sarah Burton, the Creative Director of the fashion house Alexander McQueen. It was reported in the British tabloids that the dress cost £250k, however, the Royals denied this. 

The pattern used on the sleeves of the gown is known as "Kate's lace". The bodice contains soft, satin pleats. The bodice, made of ivory satin, was inspired by the Victorian tradition of corsetry, an Alexander McQueen hallmark. The bodice also incorporated floral motifs cut from machine-made lace, which were then appliquéd on to silk net (tulle) by workers from the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace.

Up the back, there were 58 buttons, made with gazar and organza while the skirt, underskirt trim and bridal train (which measured 270 cm—110in) also incorporated lace appliquéd in a similar manner.  The full skirt was designed to echo an opening flower, with soft pleats that unfolded to the floor, forming a Victorian-style semi-bustle at the back, and finishing in a short train measuring just under three meters in length.

To partially fulfill the "something blue" portion of the British wedding tradition, a blue ribbon was sewn inside the dress. The design for the bodice of the dress featuring lace in the style of the 19th century was the "something old".

With so much interest in Prince William and Kate's wedding, it's little wonder that there was so much media and industry comment on the gown. 

Designer Karl Lagerfeld, who passed away in 2019, known for his sharp tongue, wrote "the dress is classic and goes very well in the Westminster decor. It almost reminds me of Elizabeth's wedding, the royal weddings in the '50s. The proportion of the train is good. The lace is very pretty. I like the veil a lot."

Oscar de la Renta, a designer famed for his formal gowns, stated that it was "a very traditional dress for a very traditional wedding...not ostentatious. There was not 50 meters of train, and it was not over embroidered. It was just a very traditional dress for a ravishing girl who doesn't need a lot."

It's true to say that the world fell in love with the dress. In fact so much so that replicas have been made of the dress and brides across the world have tried to replicate the look. 

Kate Middleton's wedding dress and other wedding items were put on display at Buckingham Palace, from July 2011 to Oct 2011. It attracted a record number of people to the Palace and raised c £10 million towards Middleton's charity fund as well as the Royal Collection.

What a dress!

Here's is BBC footage of the unveiling of Kate Middleton's wedding dress: