The photo, the dress ... and a Royal romance

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THIS is a picture which will go down in history as one of the most iconic images of a future queen.

The see-through dress worn by Kate Middleton at a student fashion show in St Andrews in 2002 has just been auctioned for £78,000.

But it was the photograph that made the dress famous ... and it was taken by Walter Neilson, now with the Fife Free Press.

And with the countdown to the Royal wedding between Kate and Prince William on April 29 now in full swing, photographer and picture are in great demand.

Walter appeared on the STV News this week and has also recorded a segment for a documentary ‘When William Met Kate’ which will be broadcast the week before the wedding.

And he says that the striking picture has changed his life.

Walter attended the event to take pictures for local hairdresser Sophie Butler.

He said: “I didn’t know at the time who William was, though there were rumours he was there to see one of the models.

‘‘There were a couple of photographers from tabloids who took photos of William arriving but they left.

“I only realised the picture was something special when American TV company NBC phoned and asked if they could use my ‘iconic’ image.

‘‘I laughed and they asked me if anyone had ever called it that before.”

Since the photo was taken it has featured in countless magazines, newspapers and on TV programmes all around the world, netting Walter a steady income.

He said: “The photo gives me a holiday a year but there are a lot of people who have made more money from it than me.

‘‘If you add up how much it has made for various agencies over the years, it’s at least a quarter of a million pounds. But I made a lot of contacts through it so I got a lot of work out of it.

“The down side was I occasionally got phone calls at six in the morning telling me they have heard that Prince William is somewhere in St Andrews and asking me to go and see if he’s there.

‘‘I don’t do that, I’m not a paparazzi - if I was I’d have made a million!”