'Even Harry doesn't know': Prince has NO IDEA who is designing Meghan's dress because he wants a 'complete surprise' on the big day (as speculation surrounding Burberry heats up)
- 'Traditional' Prince Harry wants the dress to be a complete surprise on the day
- Erdem, Ralph & Russo and Alexander McQueen have been touted as contenders
- Fashion insider favour former Burberry chief Christopher Bailey
- Harry and Meghan will exchange vows at Windsor Castle on 19th May
After the clamour over her £56,000 engagement gown, it is the most hotly anticipated frock of 2018.
Just who will Meghan Markle pick to design her dream wedding dress?
Several names have been thrown into the frame, but according to sources even Prince Harry doesn’t know which designer his bride-to-be has plumped for, sources say.
‘He’s being very traditional and wants it to be a complete surprise on the day,’ they said.
The designer of Miss Markle’s dress will only be revealed by Kensington Palace after she arrives at St George’s Chapel in May 19 and is one of the most closely guarded secrets around the wedding day.
Even Prince Harry has no idea who Meghan has chosen to design her wedding dress, according to royal sources
Meghan, pictured wearing a wedding dress in Suits, is rumoured to have given former Burberry chief Christopher Bailey the nod
Design duo Ralph & Russo who made the daring black sheer evening gown worn by the former actress in her first official portrait with Prince Harry are now 10-11 odds on with bookmaker Coral to be unveiled as her dress designer on May 19.
But according to well-placed sources another name is now strongly in the frame: that bastion of Britishness, Burberry – or, more specifically, its outgoing president, Christopher Bailey MBE.
The Mail has been told of several meetings held recently by senior executives to co-ordinate to what has been described as a ‘major PR strategy’ around a ‘high profile’ dress – leading some to think that Burberry have bagged the commission of the year.
‘These meetings have been shrouded in secrecy but it is understood that they concern the PR strategy for a seriously high profile dress,’ they said.
Bailey stepped down from his position as chief creative officer of Burberry after 17 years at the helm last month, but remains attached to the label
Meghan is known to be a fan of the British brand, and Holland believes that he could be a fitting 'final bow' for departing designer Bailey
‘No-one knows for sure whether Burberry has secured the commission for definite as this is all being done very much on a need-to-know basis.
‘But there can be no more high profile dress this year than Meghan’s. ‘
Who is tipped to design Meghan's dress?
The latest odds from bookies Ladbrokes put Ralph & Russo as the frontrunner. However, odds have been slashed on Bailey being given the nod.
Ralph & Russo - 1/3
Christopher Bailey 3/1
Erdem - 7/4
Roland Mouret - 9/2
Victoria Beckham - 6/1
Jenny Packham - 6/1
Giles Deacon - 6/1
Inbal Dror - 8/1
Alexander McQueen - 10/1
Suzanne Neville - 10/1
Royal brides, from Queen Victoria onwards, have made a point of sporting a British designer.
Although Burberry is not renowned for its wedding dresses, it is a very strong home-grown name and does boast one of the talented men on the fashion scene, Christopher Bailey, at its helm – much like Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, who personally designed the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding gown.
When he took over 17 years ago, the brand’s reputation had suffered badly after its distinctive check become fashionable on the football terraces and with soap stars.
As chief creative officer and president, Bailey took Burberry from a not particularly fashionable heritage rainwear brand to a high end, cutting-edge design name.
Although he stepped down as chief creative officer of firm last month, he remains with the company – clearly with time on his hands –until the end of this year and many think it would be a fitting swansong for the designer.
Certainly the royal bride-to-be has been seen in dozens of Burberry pieces over the years –most recently a £1,995 check coat in Edinburgh.
Prince Harry also wore one of their overcoats for the couple’s official engagement photographs.
Meghan most recently wore Burberry when she stepped out in the brand's £1,995 tartan coat in Edinburgh in February
By co-incidence, Prince Charles’s Head of Communications, Julian Payne, also used to be the company’s vice president of PR and Communications.
Last week British designer, Henry Holland, alsoput his weight behind Bailey, saying that he believed designing Meghan’s dress would be his ‘final bow for Burberry’.
‘I personally really hope it's somebody British,’ he told the Wedding Guest Extraordinaire podcast.
‘I would be quite excited if it was Christopher Bailey's final bow for Burberry. I think that would be a nice thing for him to do, she's worn for them for a long time.’
He added: ‘Christopher's a lovely, lovely guy. I think a Burberry wedding dress would be pretty spot on.’
The Queen chose a design by Norman Hartnell, saving up her ration coupons to pay for the gown which featured 10,000 seed pearls, and a 13-foot, star-patterned lace train.
Holland ruled out another hotly-tipped designer, Erdem, as he’s ‘very closely associated’ with the Duchess of Cambridge and said Giles Deacon, who designed Pippa Middleton's wedding dress, had told him that he definitely hadn’t got the gig.
The tradition of picking a ‘headline’ designer for a royal wedding dress was established by Queen Victoria in 1840, when she chose a crinoline-style court dress in white silk-satin made by Mary Bettans with lace designed by William Dyce, head of the Government School of Design,
Victoria asked that the gown be made from fabric woven in Spitalfields, east London - where the area’s weavers were suffering in the face of cheap foreign imports - and trimmed with a deep flounce and trimmings of lace hand-made in Honiton and Beer, Devon, to demonstrate her support for British industry.
The present Queen chose a design by Norman Hartnell, saving up her ration coupons to pay for the gown which featured 10,000 seed pearls, and a 13-foot, star-patterned lace train.
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