Northern Ireland

Carrickmacross lace crowns the royal wedding gown

Catherine Middleton
Image caption The Irish lace featured on the dress was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace.

The dress may have been by a British designer but the magnificent lace bodice and skirt had an Irish connection.

Sara Burton's design for Alexander McQueen was hand-stitched using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique, which originated in County Monaghan in the 1820s.

It was a feature harking back to the dress Princess Diana wore in 1981 which also featured Carrickmacross lace.

The intricate design was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace.

"Modern bride"

Individual flowers were hand-cut from lace onto ivory silk tulle to create a design which incorporates the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock.

Irish designer Jen Kelly said he was stunned by the Irish connection and described Kate Middleton as "a beautiful and thoroughly modern bride".

Mr Kelly who is originally from Londonderry and now works in Dublin, said an incredible amount of work had gone into the lace design.

"As I understand it the people making this had to wash their hands every 30 minutes and the needles were changed every three minutes so that they didn't mark the colour," he said.

"What people didn't see was there were three petticoats of hand embroidered lace, even her shoes were embroidered at Hampton Court, and all of the veiling.

"It (the dress) almost had the look of a costume style Tudor dress but was thoroughly modern at the same time. A triumph."

It was also revealed that the dress worn by Princess Anne's daughter, Zara, was designed by Dublin-born designer Paul Costelloe.

He received a call three weeks ago asking if he would like to design a day and evening outfit for Ms Phillips.

"Last minute project"

"I gave her a number of sketches and ideas, and she selected what she liked and we had a discussion," he said.

"It was a last minute project, but I like to work under such duress, it suits my nature."

Some may have seen Ms Phillips in her outfit on the television as she arrived at Westminster Abbey.

"It was a grey wool and silk coat and a cotton jacquard floral print dress underneath which was linking up very closely to the coat," Mr Costelloe said.

"It was just a very elegant simple look, with a big bow at the back and pleats. It was a-line just on her knee.

"I worked with the Irish milliner, Philip Treacey on the hat."

The Irish designer also created a dress for her to wear to the evening reception on Friday.

"It is a dark navy fitted pleated long dress in a silk satin finish," he said.

Mr Costelloe is no stranger to dressing royalty.

"I designed for Diana for quite a while, but other than that only the wives of a few prime ministers."