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Ten Years Ago: Preps for the 2011 Royal Wedding UPDATED with New Photos

As we approach tomorrow’s tenth anniversary of The Wedding, I thought it might be fun to look at some of the preps before the big day, ending with the night before the wedding. 

UPDATE: New photos have been released to mark the Duke & Duchess’s anniversary. 

The images were taken by Chris Floyd, a London-based photographer known for his celebrity portraits.  

In the new pictures, the Duchess is wearing her Avery print dress by Ghost. 

The dress was available at John Lewis at one point, where it is described as “Featuring three mix-and-match floral prints across the wrap-effect bodice and tiered skirt, it is loaded with pretty frill detailing in georgette fabric. three mix-and-match floral prints, a wrap-effect bodice, and tiered skirt.”   It had pretty frill detailing and a tie-detail at the waist.  It is made of synthetic material and is machine-washable. Below, a better look at the details. 

It looks like the Duchess may have on a necklace I’ve not previously seen. I will take a peek and update as soon as possible. UPDATE APR 29: There are suggestions the piece is Asprey’s Daisy Heritage Pendant, matching the Duchess’s Daisy Earrings shown below.  That is certainly a good possibility. 

UPDATE APRIL 30: As several have mentioned in comments and on social media, the number of ‘petals’ on the necklace and earrings appear different. I am not convinced the necklace is by Asprey and will continue seeking more information and also look at other designers/companies.  


Obviously, the planning and preparation for an event like this took months.  Among the projects underway in March 2011, the creation of two cakes. Below, Fiona Cairns, chosen to create the multi-tiered, traditional fruit cake with white icing. 

More from Ms. Cairns’ website

…it was not to be ostentatious or grand, but romantic and informal in its structure. Firstly, the cake featured 17 flowers, chosen by the Duchess, which all have different meanings; for example, Lily of the Valley symbolises sweetness and humility. The four national flowers also feature on the cake; the Rose to symbolise England, the Daffodil for Wales, Thistle for Scotland and the Shamrock for Ireland. 

Below, Ms. Cairns (c) with Diane Pallet (l) and Mary Doody (r) as they make decorations for the cake in late March.  

And Ms. Cairns with a flower.

There was a second cake, this one requested by Prince William.  The chocolate biscuit cake was made using 1700+ McVitie’s Rich Tea Biscuits. 

Below, McVitie’s Head Chef Paul Courtney (R) and Manufacturing Manager Tom Kilcourse do a quality check on the biscuit production line in late March.

From a Hello magazine story with Master Chocolatier Barry Colenso, the expert McVitie’s retained to help design and make the cake.  

The McVitie’s Cake Company and I worked together in making William and Kate’s cake, but the actual recipe came from the Palace. It was based on one of Prince William’s favourite afternoon tea cakes from when he was younger, a classic Tiffin cake, which was a fairly simple recipe. Although the McVitie’s Cake Company and I developed it into a wedding cake, we stuck closely to the guidelines issued from Buckingham Palace to make sure it was just right.

Our post tomorrow will have photos of both cakes. 

We now move from March to April. If wondering what the bride was doing as the big day approached, on the 11th she had an engagement with Prince William. The duo visited Darwen Academy in northwest England.

It was the couple’s last public appearance before the wedding.  The Duchess-to-be wore British brands, including a silk mikado suit by Amanda Wakeley, Kiki McDonough earrings, an Anya Hindmarch clutch, and heels by LK Bennett.

We saw the Duchess one more time before the wedding, on April 20. 

She was doing some shopping in Chelsea, wearing an Issa dress and carrying one of her Prada bowler handbags.  She is reported to have stopped in Banana Republic, Warehouse, and Whistles. Below, as she left Peter Jones in Sloane Square.

Now for the week of the wedding, beginning with the venue, Westminster Abbey.  Flowers arriving at the Abbey on April 27. 

The floral decor was designed by Shane Connolly, a Royal Warrant holder. Below you see him with the Middleton family’s florist, Emma Sampson; Ms. Sampson also worked on the floral decor. The photo shows them in Windsor Great Park in late April 2011, where many of the flowers and plants for the event were sourced.

The BBC reported that Ms. Sampson said, “Catherine asked us herself and it was wonderful, I mean, what an honour to be asked to do such a fantastic event and use some amazing flowers hopefully as well.” 

Before the decorating could even begin, everything needed to be checked by security.

And then there was the tree wrangling.

That is one of the six English Maples brought into the Abbey to be placed in the nave aisle.

From an April 2011 Daily Mail story by Rebecca English: 

Four workers struggled for more than half an hour with a miniature forklift truck to take the first tree into the Abbey, but were forced to turn it on its side as it wouldn’t fit through the door.

Two pyramid-shaped ornamental Hornbeams were also delivered and are being used to create a leafy ‘frame’ around the choir.

Kate and William have insisted on using only seasonal, organic British flowers incorporating as many growing plants as possible rather than cut ones.

Not an easy task. 

The nave aisle is the primary aisle used for the wedding.

Another view. 

More about the wedding flowers via this Town and Country piece, quoting Mr. Connolly. 

But all I ever want is to please my client… whoever they are. And so I kept on reminding myself that it didn’t matter what the world thought, if the bride and groom were happy that’s all that mattered. They were very happy so it was all fine. The main challenge was making sure no one but me knew the details. I think social media was less common then so it would be much harder to do now!

Members of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies assisted with the preps. 

Westminster Abbey noted in a series of social media posts this week that the “…Abbey was decorated with almost 30,000 flowers, mostly from the royal estates at Sandringham and Windsor, including azaleas, rhododendron, euphorbias, wisteria, beech, and lilac. The choices reflected the couple’s love of the English countryside.” Below, Wendy Davis, a member of the NAFAS smells flowers at the Abbey. 

There were multiple rehearsals for all involved, particularly for the military.  Below, the Band of the Royal Marines rehearsing on the 26th at HMS Collingwood, a training base. 

On April 27th at 2am there was a military dress rehearsal.

Sailors from the Royal Navy rehearsing. 

Another scene from that dress rehearsal. 

There were also rehearsals at Westminster Abbey on the 27th.  Below, Kate and others as they left the Abbey.

On the 28th there was another rehearsal at Westminster Abbey. Here you see the Middletons as they arrived.

Below, Kate and Harry departing the Abbey after that final walk-through.

Then it was off to the Goring Hotel for the Middleton family.

The family spent the night before the wedding at the hotel. 

The Duchess was in her ruffled jacket by BCBG Max Azria, an Issa bird print dress, and her LK Bennett wedges.

There were big crowds gathered at the hotel hoping to see the bride and her family. 

The hotel was very busy on the 28th. (I don’t know if this is the Middleton family’s belongings being unloaded, or another guest(s).

However, this photo was in the batch with the Middleton family arriving at the hotel. It’s possible it was The Dress….? Although it would make more sense if it was delivered privately, not in full view of everyone.

There was one arrival that prompted quite a buzz. The person hoped to remain incognito.

More from an April 28, 2011, Daily Telegraph piece

The woman scuttling into the Goring Hotel, the Middleton family HQ, in London on Thursday hid her long blonde hair under a fur ‘trapper’ hat in an attempt to avoid being ‘spotted’ by swarms of photographers and television crews.

But she overlooked one crucial clue – her accessories. And that is something someone in the fashion business who does not want to be ‘seen’ should never do.

The distinctive studded leather belt doubled through the belt loops of her jeans was identical to the one favoured by Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen, as were the ballet pumps.

We know how this turned out!

We’ll leave you with a photo of the final touches at Westminster Abbey on the morning of the 29th. 

And one more image of the Duchess as a single woman.

I’m guessing that just about everyone reading today’s post remembers what they were doing ten years ago today, especially if you had plans to watch the wedding with friends, get up early and bake anything special, all of that fun comes to mind. I’ll see you tomorrow with a special look back at the big day. 

One other note today related to the wedding anniversary. There are fundraisers underway to help organizations with which the Duchess is affiliated. The “10th Wedding Anniversary Fundraiser” is accepting cash donations via a Virgin Money Giving page.  

This link takes you to a page where cash donations are being accepted, with proceeds going to four charities: Action for Children, EACH (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices), the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, and Place2Be.   

The second event is taking place on social media and is raising goods for Baby Basics.  Instead of monetary donations, organizers have set up a list on Amazon UK of items needed by the organization, and purchases will go directly to BabyBasics and be delivered across the UK to families in need. 

If donating to the second fundraiser, be sure you are on the Amazon UK site to ensure goods go to the proper place.  You can also check Kate’s Rangers on Twitter and Instagram for more info and to ask any questions you may have.   

You can watch the wedding on the Royal Family’s YouTube channel. 



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Friday 30th of April 2021

Love the anniversary photos. They look truly happy in the photos with nothing staged about it. I particularly liked William's smile in the straight on shot. He looks so happy and proud. They both should be proud of their 10 years in public life together (and ~18 years as a couple). They are doing great things while being hands on parents. I think the dress looks great on Kate and like the details and multiple patterns.


Friday 30th of April 2021

What a splendid post, Susan!

That shot of the red vacuum cleaner made my day. ;)

Caroline A.

Thursday 29th of April 2021

Exciting news! The BBC has just posted the following:

“On their tenth wedding anniversary, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released a video to thank people for their support over the years. The video captures the royal couple playing and walking outdoors with their children, and was released on their official Twitter page”.

Here’s a link to the video:


Thursday 29th of April 2021

How adorable!!!! Thank you for sharing


Thursday 29th of April 2021

Well this post just makes me feel old because 10 years ago I was living in Madrid, Spain completing my MA in Spanish at NYU's campus over there. (The MA program no longer exists, probably got eliminated due to budget cuts). I was 23 and I had only graduated from college the year before! I was so young. I remember I had a lucky break in my class schedule where I didn't have classes the day of the wedding (I can't remember, was the wedding a Friday or a Saturday?) so I was able to watch it on my laptop online. It was a nice break from the stress of living abroad and keeping up with MA coursework/thesis research and writing. Thank you for the walk down memory lane for the wedding prep! I didn't see it at the time but I remember seeing the picture of Sarah Burton trying to sneak into the Goring hotel so the label behind the dress wouldn't be blown. For some reason, they were hellbent on not revealing it until Kate walked down the aisle which seemed like a weird thing to do. It didn't work though, the press figured out who it was and immediately suspected Alexander McQueen though I don't think it was officially announced until Kate was walking down the aisle.

The anniversary pictures are nice, though not my favorite of the couple. Not a huge fan of the backgrounds they chose, especially the one with the brick, dull buildings behind them. You can tell it was overcast when they took these pictures. I'm guessing they chose blue as the color scheme to show off the engagement ring. Kate's hair looks great and she looks relaxed and happy. And the top of the dress works for the pictures--it's got this loose, whimsical, romantic fairy woods vibe going on that's nice. But the rest of it is pretty bad with the three different patterns and tiers (which I know is really in this season but I am not a fan of tiers on dresses). Kate has been really into the what I can only label as the "sister wife" look with the overly long, tiered, frilly dresses during the pandemic and I really don't understand why. NOTE: admin edit


Thursday 29th of April 2021

I am so pleased they released photos for their anniversary. I remember setting the timer on my TV and getting up very early to watch the ceremony---so much fun. The Cambridges look healthy and happy in the photos and I like the styling of Kate's hair. I am never going to like those "granny's nightgown" style dresses with ruffles and multiple busy patterns and frills, but I do like that this one has a V neck, making it less buttoned up than usual and a bit less fussy. Hard to believe it has been 10 years.

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