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Up for sale, the dress that won a prince's heart

A see-through knitted lace dress designed by Charlotte Todd and modelled by Kate Middleton at the St Andrew's annual charity fashion show in 2002. (AGENCY)

By Reuters

The see-through dress worn by Kate Middleton at a university fashion show at which she caught the eye of an admiring Prince William goes under the hammer next month.

William paid for front row seats at the charity show at Scotland's St Andrews University in 2002 when Middleton strutted down the aisle in little more than her underwear as she modelled the knitted lace dress.

British newspapers always cite it as the moment William's interest in Middleton was stirred from one of mere friendship to something more serious, and they began dating soon after.

"If it is true that my design helped changed the prince's interest in Kate from platonic to romantic as has been reported, then I am pleased to have played a part -- however minor," said the dress designer Charlotte Todd.

"I never would have imagined as I sat knitting this piece that one day it would be so important," she was quoted on the auctioneer's website as saying.

Todd said the dress, which is expected to sell for up to 10,000 pounds ($16,000), was initially designed to be a skirt. Middleton was selected to wear it and it was decided that it should be worn as a dress instead.  "It was just pure luck that Kate, out of all those girls, wore it for a few seconds," Todd told the Mail on Sunday newspaper. "I don't even see it as a dress, really. To me it's just a piece of fabric."

Two gowns worn by William's late mother Princess Diana on state visits to France and Japan in the 1980s will also feature in the sale by Kerry Taylor Auctions on March 17 at La Galleria in central London.