02/29/2012

Kate pays a secret visit to her wedding dress stitchers

Official
In one of the official wedding photos, some of the intricate work on Kate's dress can be seen. Joining her in the photo (besides the groom Prince William) are Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Eliza Lopes, Grace van Cutsem, Lady Louise Windsor, Tom Pettifer and William Lowther-Pinkerton. (AP Photo/Hugo Burnand, Clarence House)

It’s been 10 months since the royal wedding, but Kate Middleton hasn’t forgotten about the frenzy of preparation that was going on this time last year.

This week, she paid a special -- and secret -- visit to a group of women who toiled more than most to make sure her day went off without a hitch. Or the slip of a stitch.

NeedleworkAbout 30 staff from the Royal School of Needlework met the Duchess of Cambridge, who dropped by their quarters at Hampton Court Palace to say thanks to the embroiderers who worked on her wedding gown.

“Catherine was keen to express her gratitude in person to the women who worked so hard on her dress,” one royal insider told the Telegraph. “She was very conscious of the pressure that they were under.”

The school, whose mandate is to teach and spread the art of hand embroidery, were responsible for the lace appliqué. Using an old Irish lace-making technique, Chantilly lace and English Cluny lace were used to create designs of rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock, which were hand-cut and individually sewn on the ivory silk tulle.

It was pain-staking work. The women had to wash their hands every half hour to keep the material clean and needles were changed every three hours to ensure they were clean and sharp. Even then, they were kept in the dark about who was actually designing the dress (Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen), until the dress was unveiled to the world on April 29.

“It was lovely to meet the Duchess of Cambridge and to show her what the Royal School of Needlework does,” said Susan Kay-Williams, the school’s chief executive.

The cost of the dress was been estimated at about $62,000.

Workers
Susan Kay-Williams, left, with some of the embroiderers from the Royal School of Needlework who worked on Kate Middleton's wedding dress at Hampton Court Palace. (Getty Images)

QUEEN PUTS ON HER GAMES FACE

The last time Queen Elizabeth opened an Olympic Games, Montreal got stuck with stadium that took taxpayers about 30 years to pay off.

Queen 1976Not that we're blaming her, or suggesting it might happen again for London's Olympic extravaganza this summer. But with a budget that has ballooned to about $15 billion, it would be wise to keep an eye on the bottom line.

As expected, it has been announced that the Queen and Prince Philip will officially open the London Games on July 27 at the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium. The Queen's last brush with the Games was opening the 1976 Games in Montreal (right), where her daughter Anne was competing in equestrian events. 

The last time the Games were held in London, in 1948, it was Elizabeth's father, King George VI, who performed the opening day honours.

Queen elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth II kisses her cousin Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester on Tuesday as she and Prince Philip arrive at the central gates of Buckingham Palace. As part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, she  unveiled the first commemorative Jubilee Greenway Disc on a 60km walking and cyling route linking the West End of London with the East End. (Getty Images)

 

 

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