Award-winning journalist and royal contributor
Along with the identity of the wedding dress designer, the actual design of Kate Middleton’s dress is the most closely guarded secret of the wedding. Based on my knowledge of previous royal weddings, and from what I’ve heard so far, here’s what I predict Catherine (as she prefers to be called) will be wearing on the big day.
First off, Catherine’s gown will not look anything like Diana’s, and I anticipate that it will be white rather than a cream or ivory hue. While the strapless look is popular with many celebrity brides, this is a royal bride, and that transcends mere celebrity. This means no strapless styles, no spaghetti straps, and no to anything that exposes the shoulders. If you look at previous royal bridal dresses, every one of them features sleeves. The last major royal wedding was that of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden in June 2010 — a wedding I covered from Stockholm, and she was the first royal bride to have a gown with an off-the-shoulder wrap neckline with short sleeves.
Catherine has a fabulous figure and looks sensational in the stream-lined silhouettes she favors, however we definitely won’t be seeing a slinky sheath dress like the one Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy wore to her wedding. On the other hand, I don’t think Catherine’s dress will feature a big, ball-gown skirt either, although it will have some fullness to it to complement the grand scale of Westminster Abbey. So something with an A-line or a Princess-style skirt (how appropriate) with a fitted waist will be most likely.
There will be a train but nowhere near the length of Diana’s 25 ft. train as I’m told that Catherine is not into very long trains – it’s simply not her taste. The bridal bouquet will contain a sprig of myrtle to symbolize lasting love and fertility – a royal wedding tradition started by Queen Victoria.
Victoria also set the trend for white wedding dresses when she wore one to her wedding in 1840. Previously, black and red were popular bridal gown colors, and royal brides traditionally wed in silver. I wouldn’t be surprised if Catherine’s gown incorporates striking details such as silver embroidery. Rania al Yassan (now Queen Rania of Jordan) wore a gold embroidered dress to her 1993 wedding.
Royal insiders told me that shortly after the engagement announcement on November 16, Catherine was invited to Buckingham Palace where the Queen had instructed that every tiara, along with other dazzling jewels from the royal vaults, be laid out for inspection in a ballroom. This was when Catherine chose the tiara she will wear on her wedding day. The British royals have a substantial collection of priceless heirloom jewels and tiaras, and the general public has only seen a mere fraction of what is in those vaults. There are many pieces of historic provenance that haven’t been seen or worn by members of the royal family in decades.
I suspect that Catherine will wear a tiara of relatively modest size, and one that has not been seen for quite some time. I don’t think she will be wearing too much other jewelry at the wedding as she tends to favor a less is more aesthetic- perhaps just a pair of earrings or a necklace.
It should be noted that the tiara Catherine wears to the ceremony is not necessarily the same tiara she will receive as a wedding present. There has been some speculation that Catherine might be given the beautiful diamond and pearl drop tiara that Diana had worn to stunning effect. This tiara, known as the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara, was made for Queen Mary (the Queen’s grandmother) in 1913 by the royal jewelers Garrard. The Queen gave it to Diana as a wedding gift and after the princess’s death, it returned to the royal family. If the Queen bestows William a dukedom, it’s most likely to be the Duke of Cambridge title. So it will be a wonderful tie-in for Catherine to be given the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara as she will then be the Duchess of Cambridge. Nice scenario – but it won’t happen. First of all, the tiara is too closely associated with Diana, and the young couple have already said that Catherine will be forging her own path and identity. Secondly, Diana often complained that the Lover’s Knot was heavy and wearing it gave her a headache. So that rules it out.
To veil or not to veil? Royal brides customarily wear a veil on their wedding day but the question is whether Catherine will wear one over her face as she proceeds up the aisle. If Catherine was a princess of royal blood, I can tell you emphatically that she will not have a veil covering her face. None of the royal-born princesses such as Princess Anne, Princess Margaret or the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) when she married, had worn a veil over their faces. However, since Catherine is not royal-born, she will have a choice, and I think she’ll choose to have a veil over her face like Diana and Sarah Ferguson before her. It lends an air of mystery, and goes so well with the romantic image that she loves.
As for how Catherine will be wearing her hair, all brides at royal weddings have their hair pulled off their faces, so there won’t be a repeat of Catherine’s hair falling over her eyes like we saw during the engagement announcement and interview. However, I don’t think we will be seeing her thick hair pulled back in a tight knot. Catherine knows what suits her, and it isn’t anything too severe looking. So on the wedding day, her hair will be pulled back from her face, but done loosely with a soft effect.
The latest news from my royal contacts is that Catherine has commissioned four pairs of shoes for the wedding day – each pair with a different heel height. Considering that she will be spending much of the day on her feet – at the ceremony, during the reception, the balcony appearance, the official photo shoot, not to mention dancing at the evening party afterwards, this sounds like a very smart move.