Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is the world's top fashion inspiration - that much we have known since her engagement to William almost a year ago. Now it can be revealed that she has started another trend: brides are buying two wedding dresses, just like she did! And amongst them is my second daughter who married last Saturday.
Not content with the huge, fairytale wedding dress, she bought another, lighter one for dancing in the evening. So, I gather from her that all the modern brides are doing the same, or at least contemplating it, if the bank of mum and dad allows. Excuses are given - big dress too heavy/delicate for disco use, but the underlying real reason is that Kate did it. She got designer Sarah Burton to create her magnificent embroidered lace dress for the ceremony, then a second simpler one for the evening dinner dance at Buckingham Palace.
Parents beware - whatever Kate does, your daughters are sure to follow. So if you have a bride-to-be in the family, I'm just giving you a gentle warning of what to expect!
We didn't quite match Kate with Westminster Abbey and the Palace, but our local 14th century church and the wonderful Stoneleigh Abbey with its palatial reception rooms were almost as fabulous. Stoneleigh was visited by Queen Victoria, so it has royal connections and her room is preserved along with other important ones. Jane Austen stayed at Stoneleigh and is believed to have based her novel Northanger Abbey on it.
And just like her elder sister who had her dream Cotswold wedding three years ago, my daughter had unseasonably warm English sunshine. In fact, Saturday was the warmest October 1st ever recorded at our local weather station: 29.1 C.
Kate got her prince, her place in history, her two wedding dresses, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, but she didn't quite get the weather.....