How does one dress a royal wedding?

May 5, 2011
The glamorous Windsor boys, Harry (right) with his secret Velcro cuff

The glamorous Windsor boys, Harry (right) with his secret Velcro cuff

The chairman of a Jewish family-run tailoring business has revealed the intricate secrets behind the outfit worn by Prince William on his wedding day.

Kashket and Partners were appointed official tailors for the big day. A royal warrant requested Kashket design and manufacture the Prince's colonel in the Irish Guards scarlet uniform, as well as the outfits worn by Prince Harry, the pageboys and 2,000 other military uniforms.

Chairman Russell Kashket had to sign a confidentiality agreement when he was first contacted by royal courtiers in February.

His family, who were originally from Poland and Russia where they supplied hats to Tsar Nicholas II, derived their name from the felt hats worn by Hasidic Jews. The Kashkets moved to London in the 1920s when his grandfather, Alfred, one of the founding members of Loughton Synagogue in Essex, formed the UK company.

Mr Kashket, a member of Newbury Park Synagogue, said: "I was called by Clarence House and told that Prince William had expressed an interest in us making the uniforms. I immediately went into work mode and knew we had to deliver - because the whole world would be watching."

The company has designed outfits for the royal family for almost 20 years and produces items for royalty across the world, including eight kings.

After he was commissioned, Russell Kashket immediately called his father, 74-year-old Bernard, to ask for help in drawing up sketches.

More than 350 members of the Kashket staff made the outfits, which also included the drum majors' gold state coats, Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment dress, and uniforms for all five Footguards regiments.

"It was difficult to make it all without anyone knowing what it was for," Mr Kashket said. "We had to use a pseudonym."

Prince William met with Mr Kashket several times to discuss the design.

"He was very concerned about the heat because he knew all the cameras and lights would make it very hot in the Abbey," Mr Kashket said. "We worked together to get the look he wanted while using material to absorb the heat and make sure he didn't pass out in front of two billion people across the world.

"When we designed the outfits, we sat and had coffee and biscuits with Catherine and William. She was lovely and gave more input than people realise.

"We made the outfits from scratch. I was at the palace all the time. I was virtually living there - at one stage I was there every day of the week."

The garments were made by hand by staff led by Mr Kashket's brother, director and tailor Marlon, using couture hand-stitch techniques to embroider gold wires into the collars and cuffs.

Marlon Kashket said: "The prince has an excellent physique so he really did justice to our tailoring skill. We had a last-minute rush when the palace asked us if we could incorporate some device that would hold the ring.

"Ceremonial military garments such as these do not have pockets and there was concern that, if Prince Harry waved to the crowd on his way to the Abbey, then the ring might be lost.

"To solve the problem we decided to sew a tiny secret compartment into the scarlet cuff sealed with Velcro. This kept Catherine's ring safe."

Russell Kashket, his father, and their wives, attended Westminster Abbey for the wedding last Friday.

"It was only when I was sitting in the Abbey that I realised how I felt," Russell Kashket said. "He had chosen us. What an honour. It was unbelievable.

"I thought William looked great. I was very pleased to be part of the biggest day this country has seen for many years."

lBritish-born Jews living in Israel got into the celebrations with vigour as street parties and themed Shabbat meals were held in Anglo-Israeli communities across the country. In Modi'in, more than 220 guests gathered for William and Kate's "sheva brachot" (seven blessings) celebrations.

British ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould, his wife Celia and their new baby Rachel, hosted a party for 1,000 people at the Yitzhak Rabin Centre in Ramat Aviv.

Politicians, actors and footballers watched the wedding on a big screen and ate - of course - British fish and chips.

Last updated: 11:09am, May 5 2011