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making of a beautiful Princess
demi-chignon took two top stylists two hours – Richard Ward
and James Pryce talk about creating a right royal hair-do
Kate, now known as Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge
looked absolutely lovely on her wedding day. Her beauty and
style shone through and it was mirrored in Prince William’s
eyes when he caught his first glimpse of his bride at the
altar in Westminster Abbey.
Getting the look just right, tells us a lot about our new
Princess, because she has an inner beauty and calmness, combined
with a fabulous strength of resolve. Her determination to
be a naturally beautiful bride that William would feel in
tune with on the day was totally inspiring.
How many times, have you been to a wedding, where the bride
suddenly, inexplicably, changes into an unrecognisable parody
of Katie Price? Women with straight hair suddenly have an
array of ringlets, and the make-up/tan is applied so heavily
that most of the guests do a double-take for all the wrong
resisted all pressure to reinvent herself – instead she chose
her regular hairstylist James Pryce, 33, of Richard Ward and
gave him clear instructions that William must recognise her
when she walked up the aisle.
Similarly, sources have indicated that although Kate used
a make-up artist for the official engagement photos by Mario
Testino, she wasn’t happy with the results, so she removed
it and reapplied it herself. Following the engagement, Kate
wanted to control the all important make-up for the big day
herself and she took a few lessons from London-based bridal
artist Arabella Preston at Clarence House to prepare.
Arabella says ’I am an experienced bridal make-up artist and
love helping brides make the most of their beauty. I am particularly
adept at natural bridal make-up’.
On her wedding day, Kate looked naturally beautiful, and her
cleverly applied make-up emphasised her lovely features equally
well in the bright daylight outside and the strong artificial
lighting inside Westminster Abbey.
day in the life of...
Royal Hairstylists Richard Ward and James Pryce
Everything came together on the magical Wedding day, James
Pryce and Richard Ward, Kate’s hairdressers started at 6.30am
in a suite at the exclusive Goring Hotel that had been reserved
by the bridal party.
James said Kate had a vision for her look from the very beginning:
’She was very keen to have a romantic theme throughout the
whole look so that involved lots of soft waves and curls,
but then still obviously keeping the back down and showing
off those luscious locks,’
He also described Kate as ‘calm and collected’ in the morning
and said she put them at ease. ‘Kate was amazingly calm. She
is very down to earth and just so easy to work with.’
The Royal bride showed no nerves to the men attending to her
hair on the most important day of her life.
James said: ‘Kate was amazingly generous with her time and
told us we could have as long as we wanted with her so as
to get it right. She was very patient and made us feel incredibly
Her long hair was swept back off her face as many had predicted
and pinned in a unique demi-chignon at the back, then cascaded
down her back in soft romantic curls and showing the full
detail of her dress.
‘Kate chose the look because she wanted to feel like herself
on the big day,’ says James: ’For me, it was just a fantastic
opportunity and such an honour. It’s been very emotional actually.’
‘The’ bridal hairstyle was a secret as closely guarded as
Kate’s dress, but now we can reveal the story behind the demi-chignon
– the chic hairstyle worn by Kate on her big day. The unique
half-up, half-down style was created specially for Kate by
James and Richard. The elaborate demi-chignon – or half-bun
– was the result of many months of planning and practice runs.
‘This was something we’d practised many times, so we were
confident,’ said Mr Ward, who runs a salon under his own name
in Chelsea where Kate and her family are all regular clients.
‘James could have done it in his sleep. He’d practised countless
times on one of our PA’s who has long hair,’ he said. ‘I had
a sheet with instructions on and ticked the list off one by
one while James worked on the hair. There were a lot of stages
to the hairstyle. We don’t want to give away the secret to
the demi-chignon – that’s for Kate.’
But what has become one of the most talked about hairstyles
in the world, nearly ended up with a less sophisticated name.
Richard said: ‘We thought about calling it the demi-do, but
demi-chignon sounded much better. It was my wife Helen who
came up with the name.’
To help in the selection of her wedding hairstyle Kate used
mood boards – a collection of ideas and images of all the
elements she wanted to bring together.
‘We took her mood boards and pictures from magazines, and
when we decided on half-up, half-down she had a clear idea
of what she wanted,’ said Richard.
‘Kate decided in February how she wanted to wear her hair,’
said James ‘for a while she was thinking about having flowers
in her hair, but then she decided she wanted to wear a tiara.’
demi-chignon was adorned with the glittering Cartier Halo
tiara lent to Kate by the Queen (something borrowed). There
had been a lot of speculation that she would wear Her Majesty’s
George III tiara, or even Diana’s tiara, but Kate chose the
beautiful, less ornate Halo, a gift to the Queen for her 18th
James said: ‘I was pleased Kate chose the one she did because
it was the smallest and most beautiful. We had four or five
practices with it, like any bride would.’
been working with her and the family for years, which helps,
but it was nerve-wracking having to fit the tiara. It’s quite
complicated. It has an elasticated band attached to it, rather
like a headband, but you also need to use grips to make sure
it stays in place as it must not move or alter the hairstyle.
Kate’s earrings were a wedding gift from her parents, Carole
and Michael Middleton. They were specially commissioned and
created by Robinson Pelham, set with diamonds in a stylised
oak leaf pattern and pear-shaped diamond drop with a pave
set diamond acorn suspended in the centre (something new)
they cost £15,000.
If anyone had been in ‘the know’ about the bride’s dress,
it would have seemed appropriate for Kate’s hairstylists to
have been privy to the best kept secret for many years. However,
it was all on a need to know basis and only the barest of
outlines was revealed to them.
‘She never told us it was Sarah Burton,’ said James. ‘Kate
described it from the waist up and said it had a V neckline
with lace sleeves, but that was all we knew.
‘She knew what she wanted and that she wanted a romantic dress.
That was the theme of the hair-do – she wanted it off her
face and not around her shoulders because she wanted to show
off the lace of her dress. Romantic was the key word for the
The two men were stunned by their first glimpse of the outfit.
Richard Ward said: ‘When we finished her hair at 8.30am she
excused herself to go to another room to do her make-up, and
when she came back she looked absolutely stunning. We were
all just bowled over by how pretty she looked.’
The dress designer Sarah Burton, of the famous Alexander McQueen
fashion house, said: ‘It has been the experience of a lifetime
to work with Catherine Middleton to create her wedding dress,
and I have enjoyed every moment of it. It was such an incredible
honour to be asked, and I am so proud of what we and the Alexander
McQueen team have created.’
The intricate lace design cleverly incorporated the rose,
thistle, daffodil and the shamrock – the four floral emblems
of the United Kingdom. The 2 metre train and bodice were decorated
with the delicate lace appliqué flowers, handcrafted using
the Carrickmacross lace-making technique that originated in
Ireland in the 1820’s (something old).
St James’s Palace said the bride chose the British brand Alexander
McQueen for the ‘beauty of its craftsmanship" and its "respect
for traditional workmanship and the technical construction
The gorgeous gown was made of ivory and white satin gazar,
the skirt resembling an opening flower with white satin gazar
arches and pleats. There were 58 covered buttons down the
back, fastened by Rouleau loops. A blue ribbon was sewn into
the interior of the dress (something blue). Kate’s bridal
bouquet was a shield shaped spray of myrtle, lily-of-the-valley,
hyacinth and touchingly contained sweet William.
A team of seven other hair stylists looked after the bridal
party including Kate’s sister... the much admired and renamed
her Royal Hotness Pippa and the effortlessly, glamorous mother
of the bride Carole Middleton and the bridesmaids, including
the scowling one! William’s god daughter Grace van Cutsem.
Right: Carole Middleton
Left: Grace van Cutsem
Above: Rules are made to be broken and Maid-of-honour Pippa
Middleton broke the wedding dress code, by wearing a white
figure hugging dress, that has been admired as much for the
back view as the front. Created by Sarah Burton, the dress
ensured Pippa commanded attention.
With this ring... emotional day
Finally, when all the preparation was over, the moment arrived
that everyone across the world was waiting for. Kate glided
up the red carpeted aisle at Westminster Abbey and James tells
us how he reacted.
like most guys I bottled up all my emotions. For me really,
just being in the abbey and seeing her come through those
doors was a very touching moment and I was really sort of
fighting back the tears. It was very very special.’
James said: ‘We spent time making sure it was just right and
I was at the Palace till about 10pm for a dress rehearsal.
It’s been a lot of work and I’d be lying if I said there hadn’t
been sleepless nights.
’One evening in the run-up to Friday, my fiancee Laura called
wondering where I was. Kate apologised to her for stealing
The salon owner Richard, had also been working flat out before
the wedding, and had suffered the loss of his father, he said:
‘My father Ron died last Sunday and I found Friday quite emotional.
It was wonderful watching the wedding. I watched it on a screen
at the Palace reception. It was wonderful seeing it all come
expert team of stylists were at hand throughout the magical
day and James retouched Kate’s hair, moments before she appeared
on the balcony for the magic kisses with William.
’They seemed very happy and also very relaxed around each
other and excited really. You could just see they’re very
much in love.’
Then on Friday evening James was at Clarence House helping
Kate prepare for the reception, where she wore a white Sarah
Burton gown with a diamante waist band and a white mohair
James said: ’For the evening she wanted to be herself and
she just wanted a regular blow dry that we usually do. She
was just keen to really look herself and be herself which
is what is so fabulous about her.’
Article by Heather Bell