Buckingham Palace puts Kate's wed dress on display

A detail of the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress, designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, is photographed before it goes on display at Buckingham Palace during the annual summer opening on July 20, 2011 in London, England. Lewis Whyld/WPA Pool/ Getty Images

In April, the closest almost anyone got to Kate Middleton's wedding dress was a television screen, or maybe a distant peek as she and her new husband, Prince William, were driven through the streets of London after the nuptials.

But starting this weekend, the dress will be up-close and on display, in Buckingham Palace's latest museum show.

Victoria Mather, contributing editor of Vanity Fair magazine, said, "It's absolutely fantastic, I mean, it's lifted, having the Duchess of Cambridge's dress there, has lifted the whole exhibit."

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The dress, designed by Sarah Burton, stands out up-close, according to royals watcher Mather, who says its most impressive aspect may be its intricate craftsmanship.

"What you can see with the dress is the incredible detail that was done at The Royal School Of Needlework at Hampton Court," she said. "There are little roses and daffodils, and thistles for Scotland, daffodils for Wales, roses for England and shamrocks for Ireland. They are the size of a dime."

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Also on display are Kate's shoes -- size 7-1/2 in U.S. sizing, her earrings, bearing the new Middleton family crest, and the wedding cake. That's right: The exhibit will actually feature five tiers of the original cake, topped with three new ones, to replace the cake that was already eaten or is being saved.

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Though slices of the cake aren't available now, tickets to the exhibit are -- and they've been selling briskly. More than 127,000 tickets, "Early Show" co-anchor Rebecca Jarvis reported, have already been grabbed up. Entry to the exhibit costs £17.50, or about $29.

So, is the goal of Buckingham Palace to make Kate a business?

Mather said, "You could say that putting a frock on display is certainly boosting sales for Buckingham Palace, which desperately needs some rewiring and some work on the roof, and it isn't getting any help from the government at the moment. So, if the dress can go out to work, I think the dress could be a business by itself."

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