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Image: Charlotte Todd stands next to the dress she designed, and which was worn by Kate Middleton in 2002.
Alastair Grant  /  AP
Charlotte Todd stands next to the dress she designed, and which was worn by Kate Middleton in 2002.
updated 3/17/2011 4:08:04 PM ET 2011-03-17T20:08:04

A revealing piece of royal history was sold Thursday for 78,000 pounds, or $125,871, when an unidentified buyer bought the infamous see-through dress Kate Middleton wore back in 2002 when she and Prince William were university friends.

Some reports maintain that the sight of Middleton in the transparent dress as she walked down the catwalk at a charity fashion show helped convince William that she was someone he wanted to get to know better.

Whether or not the see-through black dress was a major factor, they soon became boyfriend and girlfriend, starting a long-term romance that will bring them to the altar of Westminster Abbey on April 29.

The dress was supposed to be a skirt, but Middleton wore it as a dress, with black underwear beneath.

It was bought by an unidentified male British buyer at a London auction Thursday for 65,000 pounds ($104,948) and an additional 13,000 pounds ($20,989) of buyer's premium.

"He thinks it's an iconic piece," said an unnamed man who represented the buyer at the auction. "He's very happy."

Related: Kate's see-through dress to be auctioned

About three to four bidders competed for the dress in the packed room, while some also bid by phone. Gasps rang around the room when the bidding drove the price up to 65,000 pounds ($104,948).

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No one would mistake the dress for high fashion. It was put up for sale by designer Charlotte Todd, who did not go into fashion but works in an aquarium.

"I'm completely shocked, I need to sit down and get my head round it," Todd said. "I didn't like to get my hopes up, I was thinking it might not sell. I wasn't thinking of a sum of money in my head."

Prince William dresses down, sports sneakers on lunch date

Bidder Carole Lieberman said the garment shows that Middleton was willing to use hardball tactics in pursuit of the University of St. Andrew's' most eligible bachelor.

Lieberman, a U.S. talk show host and psychiatrist, said before the auction that she planned to bid aggressively on the dress after buying other items, including nightdresses that belonged to Wallis Simpson, the American divorcee who lured King Edward VIII from the throne.

She said she wanted to purchase Middleton's dress because Middleton was "the quintessential good girl who used bad girl secrets to catch her prince."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Kate Middleton’s transformation

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  1. Kate Middleton's transformation

    Kate Middleton's many hats draw attention to one of her best assets: ultra-shiny chestnut hair. Pre-royal family, her regular blowout appointments with London-based hairstylist Richard Ward kept her strands soft and glossy. Once she dons the crown, however, she won't need any help standing out.

    1995: The 13-year-old student at St. Andrew's School was a wash-and-wear athlete, playing field hockey, tennis and volleyball.

    InStyle.com: Kate Middleton’s Spot-On Princess Style

    InStyle.com: Kate Holmes’s Transformation

    InStyle.com: Royal Rocks: The Engagement Rings of Princess Brides

    InStyle.com: Kate Middleton’s Transformation (Whitehotpix/ZUMApress.com via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Kate Middleton 2002

    Middleton walked the runway at a University of St. Andrews charity fashion show with ribbons and tight ringlets.

    InStyle.com: Kate Middleton’s Spot-On Princess Style

    InStyle.com: Kate Holmes’s Transformation

    InStyle.com: Royal Rocks: The Engagement Rings of Princess Brides (M Neilson/Getty Images via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Kate Middleton 2006

    For the wedding of Laura Parker Bowles and Harry Lopes, Middleton paired downy soft strands with a feathered fascinator.

    InStyle.com: Kate Middleton’s Spot-On Princess Style

    InStyle.com: Kate Holmes’s Transformation

    InStyle.com: Royal Rocks: The Engagement Rings of Princess Brides (PA Photos/Landov via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Kate Middleton 2006

    Middleton attended Prince Williams' graduation from the Royal Military Academy in a wide-brimmed picture hat.

    InStyle.com: Kate Middleton’s Spot-On Princess Style

    InStyle.com: Kate Holmes’s Transformation

    InStyle.com: Royal Rocks: The Engagement Rings of Princess Brides (PA Photos/Landov via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image:
    Whitehotpix/ZUMApress.com via InStyle.com
    Above: Slideshow (6) Kate Middleton’s transformation
  2. Mario Testino / Art Partner
    Slideshow (27) A royal couple’s long courtship

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