A framed photograph of a demure Catherine Middleton wearing a beautiful and barely there feathered headpiece hangs in the Wiltshire showroom of milliner Vivien Sheriff. It was taken during Kate’s first official engagement in Anglesey in February 2011, before her marriage to Prince William. Despite a fierce wind on an incredibly grey day, the headpiece, fixed by an invisible comb, didn’t move an inch and proved the perfect complement to a cream tailored military-style coat by Katherine Hooker.
The headpiece was crafted just a few feet from the showroom, in the Vivien Sheriff workroom, by attaching pheasant feathers and vintage buttons to a disk of blocked velvet. The next day, and for weeks afterwards, pictures of Catherine wearing the headpiece found their way to virtually every corner of the planet. The soon-to-be Duchess of Cambridge featured on Hello’s front cover and in People magazine (3.4 million copies sold weekly) among numerous others.
As wedding fever hit, CNN and other global broadcasters blocked the narrow lane leading to their converted farm building premises with giant outside broadcast units.