Image may contain Clothing Apparel Human Person Wedding Fashion Wedding Gown Gown Robe and Evening Dress
Photo: Getty Images

A Detailed Look at the Princess of Wales’s Unforgettable Wedding Dress

Incredibly, more than a decade has passed since the then Kate Middleton walked down the aisle at Westminster Abbey on the arm of her father, Michael. Twelve years after she married her prince on a glorious spring day in 2011, and the world was swept up in all the romance of the royal wedding, Vogue looks back on the Princess of Wales’s spectacular Alexander McQueen gown in numbers.


The number of years Sarah Burton had been artistic director at Alexander McQueen when she was commissioned to create one of the most anticipated wedding dresses in history. The bride chose the British house “for the beauty of its craftsmanship and its respect for traditional workmanship and the technical construction of clothing.” Kate, now the Princess of Wales, wanted a wedding gown that combined “tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterizes Alexander McQueen’s work,” the Palace said. Burton, who had been McQueen’s right-hand woman for years, was named as the designer’s successor after he tragically took his own life in 2010.

Kate Middleton arriving at Westminster Abbey on her wedding day in 2011.

Photo: Getty Images


The number of minutes that passed before seamstresses working on Kate’s wedding dress had to wash their hands, in order to keep the lace and threads pristine


The number of hours that were allowed to pass before the needles were renewed, to ensure they were sharp and clean.


The number of feet the royal bride’s train stretched behind her as she walked down the aisle. Burton designed the skirt to echo an opening flower, with white satin gazar arches and pleats that pooled in a train measuring two meters and 70 centimeters—or almost nine feet.

The bride’s train, appliquéd using Ireland’s 19th century Carrickmacross lace-making technique, stretched almost nine feet.

Photo: Getty Images


The number of gazar and organza-covered buttons, fastened by Rouleau loops, that decorated the back of Kate’s lace appliqué bodice.


The number of motifs hand-embroidered in Kate’s veil of soft, ivory silk tulle. The design incorporated the rose, the thistle, the daffodil, and the shamrock, to represent each of the countries that make up the United Kingdom.

The Queen loaned the Cartier tiara she was gifted on her own 18th birthday to Kate on her wedding day.

Photo: Getty Images


The age at the time of the youngest member of the team assembled from the Royal School of Needlework—made up of existing staff, former staff, tutors, graduates, and students—to work on the most closely-guarded secret in fashion: Kate’s wedding dress.


The number of diamonds in the Cartier Halo tiara, loaned to Kate on the occasion of her wedding day by Prince William’s grandmother, the Queen.

Sweet William was included in the Duchess of Cambridge’s bouquet, a nod to her husband on their wedding day a decade ago.

Photo: Getty Images


The number of different types of foliage included in Kate’s wedding bouquet: Lily-of-the-valley, symbolizing the return of happiness; sweet William, representing gallantry; hyacinth, symbolizing constancy of love; ivy, for fidelity, marriage, wedded love, friendship and affection; and myrtle, the emblem of marriage and love.


The number of flower girls who accompanied the bride in Westminster Abbey: Lady Louise Windsor, Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Grace van Cutsem, and Eliza Lopes all wore white dresses by Nicki Macfarlane. The now Princess of Wales’s younger sister, Pippa Middleton, who was maid of honor on her big day, also wore McQueen.


The number of years myrtle has been included in royal brides’ wedding bouquets. The tradition dates back to 1858, when Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, Princess Victoria, carried it on her wedding day. It was used to signify the traditional innocence of a bride.

Kate chose Alexander McQueen for the British brand’s devotion to craftsmanship and respect for traditional workmanship.

Photo: Getty Images


The number of months the dress went on display at Buckingham Palace in the summer of 2011, following the royal wedding.

Kate’s dress went on display at Buckingham Palace for four months later that summer, after the world was swept up in the romance of the royal wedding.

Photo: Getty Images