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The true story of the sheer dress and fashion show that reportedly brought Will and Kate together

Kate's daring look caught the attention of the future king.
/ Source: TODAY

Before she was the Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton was a college student walking the runway at a campus fashion show — possibly changing the course of her life.

Her barely there, head-turning outfit reportedly caught the eye of Prince William back in 2002 while they were both students at St. Andrews University.

Now, “The Crown” is re-creating the moment for its final episodes. Netflix posted a first-look photo of the moment on Instagram Nov. 28, weeks ahead of its Dec. 14 premiere.

The show is known for paying homage to pivotal moments in royal fashion history, like Princess Diana’s revenge dress. What’s the fuss over a barely there dress? Here’s what to know.

How does the fashion show in 'The Crown' compare to Kate's real dress?

The strapless, see-through knitted dress came down to about knee length and featured a dark, bra-like covering and matching underwear underneath when the former Kate Middleton, 19 at the time, wore it. She completed the look with a bare neck and her trademark long, draping brown locks.

Kate Middleton in 2002 next to "The Crown's" Meg Bellamy as her in Season Six, Part Two.
Kate Middleton in 2002 next to "The Crown's" Meg Bellamy as her in Season Six, Part Two.Shutterstock,@thecrownnetflix via Instagram

New to "The Crown" actor Meg Bellamy will be wearing a version of the same dress as she makes her professional acting debut as Kate. She announced her ascension into the role on Instagram September 2022.

"Pinch me please," she wrote. "It is such an honour to be joining the most incredible cast and crew, and I will strive to do Kate justice. ❤️👑"

A few days later, she thanked fans for having already bought in to her as teenage Kate.

"Thank you so much everyone, for your kind messages of support and encouragement. I appreciate every single one," she said. "These past few days have been a whirlwind, and I am just so excited and grateful to be beginning this dream of a journey."

How does the fashion show figure into Will and Kate’s love story?

Marriage has played a major role in “The Crown,” following Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s enduring relationship and Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s tumultuous one. Come Season Six, Part Two, the Prince and Princess of Wales take the stage.

While William and Kate knew each other before the fashion show, legend has it that it's where the future king, sitting in a front row seat, noticed her. Royal writer Katie Nicholl wrote that William made his first move on Kate that night.

The royal couple’s college classmate at the time, Charlotte Todd, designed the dress, according to People, for the college’s fashion show titled “The Art of Seduction.”

“Everyone says that the fashion show was when the romance started, so a small part of me will always be part of royal history,” Todd told the outlet. “It’s madness!”

The outfit costed less than $50 to make and was auctioned off in 2011, the year the couple married, for $125,000, People reported.

The couple now has three children together: Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8 and Prince Louis, 5. The spouses celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary in April.

Kate's fashion has made headlines in recent years. She wore the late Princess Diana's tiara at King Charles III's first state banquet last year. She also sported a military style jacket with the matching skirt in 2020.