- (Reuters/Lewis Whyld)
Buckingham Palace is expecting 650,000 people to visit this summer to catch a glimpse of the now-iconic wedding dress Kate Middleton wore during her royal wedding to Prince William in April.
The famous dress was designed by Sarah Burton in memory of the late Alexander McQueen. The design was kept top secret with only a few people connected to Kate and Burton able to see the dress before going public.
The dress was given resounding praise from fashion critics around the world, as well as the hundreds of millions of viewers across the globe watching the wedding on TV.
At present plans are to place the dress on an unprotected raised oval stage in the ornate palace ballroom; the location where state banquets are held. Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to flock to see the dress.
Interest in the British royal family, and in particular the newly appointed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, has hit fever pitch in recent months following the wedding and the couple’s North America tour.
Advanced sales of tickets have reached more than 125,000 with a record 650,000 people expected for the Buckingham Palace tour over the coming months.
Those able to get tickets will see Kate’s wedding dress, a silk replica of her bouquet, the wedding shoes, as well as the original veil and Cartier "halo" tiara.
The dress had a relatively modest 2.7-meter train, but critics described the dress as relevant yet traditional, as well as modest and elegant.
The organizers are trying to give visitors a real taste of the royal wedding, by even putting the wedding cake on display in a glass cabinet in the state dining room. The cake will show the original cut where the royal newlyweds placed the knife together on their special day.
Prince William and Kate are themselves due to visit the displays on Friday. The Buckingham Palace tours open for the summer on July 23 and will continue through to October 3.