IT WAS the best kept secret of the biggest royal occasion in decades, but one Northumberland dressmaker seemed to know the answer all along.
While millions waited in suspense to see Kate Middleton’s beautiful wedding dress, veteran seamstress Rossina Brown had already sketched out how she thought the dress would look, and sealed her prediction in an envelope.
For fun, the 69-year-old bridal shop owner then gave the envelope to her husband to open for when the gown was finally revealed at ceremony in London’s Westminster Abbey, on Friday. And Rossina, from Stocksfield, was delighted to see how closely her vision matched the Alexander McQueen gown, made by Sarah Burton.
Immediately after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge publicly sealed their union with a kiss on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, the grandmother-of-four set to work to create a replica to unveil in her bridal shop window the next day.
She said: “I already had a dress that I had half finished, so immediately after the balcony kiss I dashed home and remodelled it.
“I didn’t think it would have such a great reaction, but everyone has been stopping to pop in and make comments.
“It’s a lovely dress and I’ve got it looking as near to the real thing as possible.”
It took Rossina around seven hours – most of which involved intricate hand-stitching – to get the dress ready in time to take pride of place in her shop window for the day after the royal wedding.
The mother-of-two first began dressmaking when she was 19 and worked for the BBC designing and making costumes for its Come Dancing programme until it was axed in 1998.
Once a ballroom dancer herself, Rossina would make her own outfits, and do wedding dresses for family and friends in her spare time.
When she stopped working for the television show, she used her dressmaking skills to start a bridal business and now has two shops in Stocksfield and Hexham, both called Rossina Brown Bridal Gowns.
She added: “When I saw the dress, I thought it was beautiful and very serene.
“She reminded me straight away of Grace Kelly. It’s a timeless look and I think she got it spot on. It was perfect for her.
“The wedding brought the whole country together, which is lovely.”
Rossina plans to keep her replica royal wedding dress on display in her Stocksfield shop for the next month.