On April 29, 2011, Prince William of Wales will marry his long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton. Although the excitement doesn’t quite match the all-out frenzy that accompanied the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana 30 years ago, there’s a palpable buzz among fans of the royals as the big day draws near.
Both bride and groom are popular subjects for the paparazzi, which means that the cars they drive, the wine they drink and especially the clothes they wear are often in the spotlight. Click ahead to see some of the brands that the royal couple has been associated with since they met.
By Daniel Bukszpan, Special to CNBC.com
Posted 8 April 2011
Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement on November 16, 2010, and when they did, fans paid close attention to what the famously fashion-savvy bride-to-be wore for the occasion. In this case, it was a blue jersey dress by Issa, a UK label designed by Brazilian-born Daniella Issa Helayel.
The designer told People magazine, "We are thrilled with the engagement news, and I'm very happy that she has chosen to wear Issa today." Helayel’s enthusiasm is justified; the label boasts such high-profile clients as Scarlett Johannson and Naomi Campbell, and Middleton’s choice of the dress increased the company’s already considerable standing. Issa plans to re-launch the brand in the U . S . , and eventually take it worldwide.
Prince William is an avid motorcycle rider who has been riding off-road since he was eight years old. In 2008, he participated in EnduroAfrica, a 900-mile bike rally through Africa that benefited such charities as UNICEF and Sentebale. His ride for the occasion was a Ducati 1198s superbike.
Ducati is based in Bologna, Italy, and it has been in business since 1926. In the 1960s, it manufactured the Mach 1, one of the fastest motorcycles available at the time. The model that Prince William used for EnduroAfrica is estimated to be worth almost $33,000, and can reach a speed of 180 miles per hour.
On December 18, 2010, about a month after announcing their engagement, Prince William and Kate Middleton attended their first public event, a benefit for the Teenage Cancer Trust in Norfolk, England. Middleton wore an above-the-knee ivory dress made by Temperley London and designed by Alice Temperley, is part of her Fall 2009 collection.
The designer’s clothes are known for their fine details, such as the beading and crystals found along the dress’ neckline. Considering all the work that goes into them, it should come as no surprise that Temperley’s clothes aren’t cheap by any means. However, in 2010, the company launched Alice by Temperley, a line targeted at younger buyers with lower price points.
When Kate Middleton takes her vows and officially becomes royalty, she and her new husband will leave the wedding ceremony in a carriage, per longstanding custom. However, before that can happen, she has to get to the wedding, and she will travel there by car in her last act as a commoner.
The car that will take her to the wedding is the Rolls-Royce Phantom VI. This model was manufactured between 1968 and 1991 in a limited run of less than 400 units, and two of them can be found in Queen Elizabeth II’s fleet. A 1970 Phantom VI is the State Car of the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, but it is used only on rare occasions, such as the opening of Parliament.
The blue Issa dress that Kate Middleton wore in her engagement announcement sold out immediately. This is a regular phenomenon for most articles of clothing that she wears, and the belted white dress by Reiss that she wore in the official engagement photos was no different. It sold out almost immediately, and Reiss re-released it in January 2011 in order to meet the overwhelming demand
Reiss is a global fashion brand, founded by David Reiss, and headquartered in London. In 2003, it was named Fashion Retailer of the Year at the British Style Awards, and it currently has 65 stores worldwide, including locations in Abu Dhabi, China and the U . S.
By now, Prince William is probably used to his fiancée grabbing all the headlines for her clothing. However, his wardrobe still gains notice on occasion, and at the December 18, 2010 Teenage Cancer Trust event that he and Middleton attended, the press singled out his striped Turnbull and Asser shirt.
Turnbull and Asser has been in business since 1885, and dressing royalty is nothing new to them. In addition to providing clothes for William and his father Prince Charles, the company has also dressed such prominent world figures as Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan. They also outfitted Sean Connery in 1962 when he played the role of James Bond in Dr. No.
Prince William of Wales is a Renaissance man who wears many hats. Philanthropist. Sportsman. Heir to the British throne. But that’s not all. He also knows how to shoot, a skill he perfected in the Royal Armed Forces. He demonstrated his expertise with a firearm during a January 2010 trip to Sydney, Australia, in which he joined Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans for live firing exercises.
William used an F88 Austeyr rifle. Manufactured by Steyr Mannlicher of Austria, the award-winning weapon is used by the Australian armed forces, for whom it was modified to include a bayonet lug. He also fired approximately 100 rounds from FN Herstal’s F89 Minimi machine gun, manufactured in Belgium and used by more than 45 countries.
In October 2010, Britain’s Sky 1 broadcast Prince William’s Africa, a one-hour documentary about an official visit to Botswana that he took as a royal patron of Tusk Trust, an African wildlife conservation charity. The film depicts the prince both on safari as well as on official business, clad in a fleece by the UK outdoor clothing company, Musto.
The company was founded in 1965 by its namesake, former UK Olympic athlete K eith Musto. Originally established to manufacture sailing clothes, the company branched out into clothing for equestrian events and hunting. Since 1994, Musto has sponsored solo long-distance yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur, and they also sponsor Zara Phillips, the daughter of Princess Anne and an accomplished equestrian.
When Kate Middleton and Prince William attended the January 8, 2011 wedding of fellow nobles Harry Aubrey-Fletcher and Sarah Stourton, the princess-to-be scandalized tabloid reporters by wearing a black dress to the event. She also wore a black velvet jacket created by Libélula, an up-and-coming UK label designed by Sophie Cranston.
For the royals, wearing black for any occasion other than funerals is a big no-no, and the Daily Mail took Middleton to task for both her taste and her physique with a headline that read "Black? For a wedding? Slim Kate's unusual choice." However, Middleton is in good company. Thirty years earlier, Princess Diana made one of her first official appearances in a floor-length black dress that outraged the press as well.
It’s been called “the dress that started it all.” According to legend, Kate Middleton and Prince William were friends and nothing more until he saw her on the catwalk at a 2002 fashion show at the University of St. Andrews. Middleton wore a sheer dress by designer Charlotte Todd, and it got his attention. The rest is history.
The dress, created in 2000, was auctioned at Kerry Taylor in London on March 17, and was expected to fetch as much as $15,000. This estimate was slightly off, and the dress went to an anonymous bidder for more than $125,000. Not bad for an article of clothing that originally set Middleton back all of $45.
Sadly, anyone who searches the clothing stores of the world expecting to find the dress will be disappointed, as it was never mass-produced. In fact, don’t bother looking for anything created by Charlotte Todd at all. She gave up fashion years ago, and today she quite happily works in an aquarium.