The true story behind Princess Kate's Middleton's catwalk moment

Split image of Kate Middleton in a suit and her in the sheer dress and bikini
(Getty Images / Shutterstock)

Prince William and Princess Kate have one of royalty's best and most enduring love stories, but the couple also have one of the most unique ways of meeting.

Like many young couples, the item first crossed paths during their time at university, but reportedly, their initial encounter involved the future Princess of Wales walking down a catwalk in a sheer dress and bikini while William was sat in the audience.

Kate strutted her stuff on the runway in the item for a charity gala and the show that the royal walked in was even called 'The Art of Seduction'. Although Kate wore several items for her time on the catwalk, it was this dress that was the most memorable.

The beautiful item was designed by fellow student Charlotte Todd and consisted of a sheer black dress that was laid over a matching bandeau bikini.

Kate Middleton in a sheer dress and bandeau bikini
Kate's iconic dress caught the attention of a young Prince William (Malcolm Clarke/Daily Mail/Shutterstock)

William was sat in the front row, after paying £200 for a ticket, when Kate strode down the runway in the eye-catching number and years later his friends revealed that he was immediately "smitten" with his future wife.

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Speaking to Vanity Fair, one of the Prince's university friends said: "It was clear to us that William was smitten with Kate," while Ben Duncan, a fellow course-mate joked that William's "eyes were on stalks".

Prince William talking to a fellow student at university
William first laid eyes on Kate while studying at St Andrews (Pool/Tim Graham Picture Library)

The publication revealed that it was at the show's after-party that William plucked up the courage to introduce himself to Kate. Speaking about the moment, William's former friend explained: "He actually told her she was a knockout that night, which caused her to blush. There was definitely chemistry between them, and Kate had really made an impression on William.

"She played it very cool, and at one point when William seemed to lean in to kiss her, she pulled away. She didn't want to give off the wrong impression or make it too easy for Will."

Meg Bellamy as Kate Middleton in The Crown
The moment was immortalised in The Crown (Netflix)

The moment would make royal history, with Kate and William moving in together with a group of university friends following the end of their first year at St Andrews with the couple starting their romance in 2003.

William and Kate have never openly spoken about the catwalk show, but during an event to mark the institution's 600th anniversary, the then Duchess of Cambridge joked:  I hope you weren't involved in the fashion show. You never know what you are going to be asked to wear!"

Charlotte Todd stood next to a mannequin in Kate Middleton's sheer dress
Charlotte Todd desgined the dress while studying at St Andrews (Ian Gavan)

And as to what happened to the iconic dress? The item was sold at an auction in 2011, the same year that William and Kate married, and despite only costing £30 to make, it sold for an astonishing £78,000.

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When asked by People about the dress that brought William and Kate together its designer joked: "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. I never would have imagined as I sat knitting this piece that one day it would be so important."