Prince Charles and Camilla leave chapel on wedding day in 2005
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Camilla, 74, tied the knot with Prince Charles on April 9, 2005, and stunned in an Anna Valentine dress. Prior to this, however, her fashion was often criticised, especially when compared to Prince Charles’ former wife, Diana, Princess of Wales. Fashion critics praised Anna Valentine for transforming Camilla Parker Bowles from dowdy to dazzling for her wedding day.
Anna Valentine is now the Duchess’s favourite dressmaker.
Camilla wore a dress by the designer for Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton, and also to Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle.
The Duchess, prior to her 2005 wedding, had been viciously described by the Hollywood style arbiter Richard Blackwell as “packing the stylistic punch of a dilapidated Yorkshire pudding.”
At the event, Camilla surprised all royal fans. From the minute she appeared outside the Guildhall in Windsor, in a Philip Treacy hat, Camilla looked radiant.
Her oyster silk basketweave coat and chiffon dress were greeted as a triumph.
Anna Valentine had also dressed Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Margaret’s daughter, for her wedding.
She is known for combining spot-on tailoring with fabrics that drape, skim and caress the body.
Anna knew she had chosen the right fabric for Camilla’s wedding dress when, watching anxiously as the happy couple emerged from the Guildhall, the hem of her dress caught the breeze.
“I went, ‘Yes! It moved!’,” the designer told The Telegraph.
Ms Valentine started making clothes as a way of paying for dancing lessons, but a bad experience at a Starlight Express audition put her off a career on the stage.
Instead, she capitalised on her skills as a dressmaker and went on a pattern-cutting course, where she met Antonia Robinson, a fellow student.
Together, in a south London garage, they started making clothes for their friends as Robinson Valentine.
Their big breakthrough came in 1993 when they made Serena Linley’s going-away outfit.
A few years on, their lives started to diverge.
Antonia began to spend more time in Cornwall with her husband and two children, and in April 2006, Anna, who is married to Jonathan Berger, an entertainment lawyer, bought out Antonia and took sole charge of the company.
With the blue dress Camilla chose for the blessing, the two women had hatched plans for a fine gold lace overlay, but Ms Valentine could not make it work.
How did that go down with Camilla?
“She’s lovely. She was absolutely fine about it,” Anna told The Telegraph.
Since then, Anna Valentine has made outfits for countless official engagements and is now established as one of the Duchess of Cornwall’s favourite dressmakers.
She is considered the person responsible for transforming not just the wardrobe, but also the wider public perception of Camilla who was formerly vilified.
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