It's the dress seen round the world — the big unveil of the Sarah Burton-designed wedding gown of Kate Middleton, bride of Prince William, second in line for the throne, was one of the most anxiously anticipated fashion moments in years.

It didn't disappoint.


Middleton has her dress adjusted as she arrives with her father, Michael, at Westminster Abbey before her marriage to Prince William. ((Suzanne Plunkett/Associated Press) )

Chosen in January by the new Duchess of Cambridge for her royal wedding to William, now Duke of Cambridge, the design of the gown was a highly guarded secret until Friday. The handmade V-neck, long-sleeved gown from the fashion house of the late British designer Alexander McQueen is made of French Chantilly lace and English Cluny lace throughout the bodice, skirt and underskirt.

The skirt is made of ivory and white satin gazar, and was designed to resemble an opening flower: padded at the hips and flowing out to the floor.

The back of the dress was finished with 58 gazar- and organza-covered buttons fastened by loops.

Tall and lean, the 29-year-old Kate wore her dark hair in cascading curls, topped with an ivory silk tulle veil trimmed with hand-embroidered flowers.

It was held in place by a Cartier "halo" tiara, on loan from the Queen to her grandson's new bride. The tiara fulfilled the "something borrowed" wedding tradition. It was first purchased by the Duke of York, later King George VI, for his duchess, who later became the Queen Mother Elizabeth. It was given to the current queen by her mother on the Queen's 18th birthday.

Dangling from Kate's ears were the "something new" — diamond drop earrings in the shape of stylized oak leaves with a pear-shaped diamond drop and diamond acorn suspended in the centre — by Robinson Pelham, a gift from her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, who run a business selling party accessories.

Zoom in on the dress

Take a closer look at the gown by clicking on the image below.

Kate Middleton
With files from The Associated Press