Belfast Telegraph

Duchess' wedding gown breaks records

The Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress attracted a record number of visitors while it was on display at Buckingham Palace this summer.

Exact audience numbers are not available. However, a palace representative has confirmed that more than 600,000 people visited the exhibit to catch a glimpse of the stunning gown Catherine wore when she married Britain's Prince Williams at London's Westminster Abbey in April.

The previous best was 420,000 visitors in 1994, and last year's figure was 413,000. The duchess' beautiful satin and lace gown designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen helped raise the turnout by around 50 per cent.

A spokeswoman for the Royal Collection - which organises the annual exhibit - has addressed the record numbers.

"It is an incredible figure," she said. "It is easily a record. We were thrilled to welcome people from all over the world and delighted it has been such a huge success."

The dress is now set to go into storage. According to a palace source, Catherine wants to keep the gown in pristine condition.

"[She] is keen to ensure that the dress survives undamaged for as long as possible, and so this inevitably means limiting the number of times that it is transported or displayed," the source explained.

Visitor numbers have increased at all the official homes this year as a result of Catherine's dress being on display, the Royal Collection spokeswoman added.

An artificial version of the bride's bouquet and the original wedding cake was also included in the exhibition, which closed on October 3.

Meanwhile, it's been reported that Britain's Queen Elizabeth would not be pleased with Catherine appearing on the cover of Vogue magazine.

The magazine's editor Anna Wintour has been campaigning to get Catherine on the first page of the prestigious fashion publication. However, a palace source has revealed the queen would be disappointed with the newlywed if she accepted the offer.

"She would definitely not be amused, and Her Majesty is a real genius at making people squirm with simply a look or a, 'Tut, tut,'" palace source told E! Online,

A senior Royal aide agreed with the notion that Catherine should not be involved in the esteemed photo shoot with Mario Testino.

"Both William and Kate are free to be interviewed or photographed by whoever they choose," the aide revealed. "They are a modern, progressive couple and I'm sure there will be lighter exchanges with the media in the future. But both William and Kate feel it would be wrong for Kate to promote herself as a fashion or style icon. That's not what they are about and they take their royal duties far too seriously to, in one sense, trivialise them."

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