Before there was Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, there was Kate Middleton, a then-19-year-old college student at St. Andrews. It’s known that she and Prince William first met as residents at St. Salvator’s Hal but it was her skin-baring moment at a school charity fashion show that sparked their romance. In 2002, Middleton donned a $40 sheer, black-and-gold silk dress with turquoise bands for the catwalk event.
As the story goes, William reportedly paid $275 to score a front row seat at the Don’t Walk show on March 27, 2002. Middleton was tapped to model the dress by designer Charlotte Todd. At she made her way down the catwalk in St. Andrews Bay Hotel, William turned to his friend Fergus Boyd and whispered, ‘Wow, Fergus, Kate’s hot!'”
The couple’s friend, Pat Duncan, confirmed that it was the sheer dress that first captured William’s attention. “It was the end of their first year. I was there, and in person there were a lot of attractive girls,” Duncan relayed in a 2011 interview. “She was in a very daring dress, in a sheer stocking-like dress,” Duncan said. “He was sitting front row and his eyes were like stalks.”
Although the designer behind the dress didn’t get an invite to the couple’s royal wedding in 2011, Todd sold the dress at an auction that same year for over $125,000.
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At least Middleton herself had a sense of humor about her risqué runway moment. “I hope you weren’t involved in the fashion show,” she joked to a crowd of undergraduates at St. Andrews in 2012 for the school’s 600th anniversary charity event. “You never know what you are going to be asked to wear!”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s Bazaar US.
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