Here’s a little royal admission. When Prince Harry was born, I knitted a pair of booties with the assistance of my nanny (lots of assistance—I was 10) and sent them to Buckingham Palace.
A few weeks later, I received a lovely letter of thanks, and an assurance from a courtier that Prince Harry loved the booties, as did Diana, and that he would basically be wearing them 24 hours a day.
Even at the age of 10, I knew this to be a wonderful, generous, royal lie.
I couldn’t help but think of that courteous letter when reading about the optimistic legal case being launched by Christine Kendall, a bridal designer who works at a small studio in rural England.
She is suing British fashion house Alexander McQueen—Kate’s fave—for breach of copyright, claiming that Kate Middleton’s wedding dress was ripped off from one of her ideas that she posted in to the palace.
Ms Kendall’s justification for this legal action appears to come, at least in part, from the fact that she sent a picture of a dress to the Duchess several months before the wedding and received, like me, a letter of gratitude in return from the office of Prince William and Prince Harry.
This appears to be the basis of Kendall’s claim, which she has been promoting for some time now.
In 2013, for example, she made a YouTube video in which she invited viewers to discover why she believed that “without my sketches, the royal wedding dress would not have looked as it did.”
The video includes footage of the aforementioned letter which says, “Miss Catherine Middleton has asked me to write and thank you so much for your letter of 18th November enclosing bridal gown designs.
“Miss Middleton was most interested to see your work and very much appreciated you taking the trouble to write. Should she wish to see more of your designs I will of course be in touch.”
Whilst to most of us that would seem like a particularly elegant edition of ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you,’ in her video Kendall claims that this means her designs had been “appreciated and accepted by Catherine.”
(A spokesman for the Duchess told The Sunday Times, incidentally, that she had never seen Kendall’s sketches, which means that the note saying she loved the pictures must have been a dirty lie! This may also mean Prince Harry never wore my hand-knitted booties! Can you believe it?)
Although few of us would regard such a note as a cast-iron commission, Kendall was apparently fired with creative enthusiasm and confidence, and ploughed ahead at full steam, creating a mock-up of her dress on 18 November 2010.
History does not relate whether Kendall sent further letters, photographs or drawings to the palace. However, when the royal wedding took place at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011, she spotted alleged similarities between her sketches and Sarah Burton’s final design.
Her solicitor, Humna Nadim of Manchester firm Kuits, said, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph, “Proceedings have been issued because our client is certain that her company’s design was unfairly taken and copied.
“The claim is not against the Duchess and there is no allegation of wrongdoing against the palace.”
A spokesman for McQueen told WWD that the house is “utterly baffled” by the legal claim.
“Christine Kendall first approached us, at Alexander McQueen, almost four years ago, when we were clear with her that any suggestion Sarah Burton’s design of the royal wedding dress was copied from her designs was nonsense.
“Sarah Burton never saw any of Ms. Kendall’s designs or sketches and did not know of Ms. Kendall before Ms. Kendall got in touch with us—some 13 months after the wedding. We do not know why Ms. Kendall has raised this again, but there are no if’s, buts or maybes here: This claim is ridiculous.”