Exclusive! Richard Ward and James Pryce's Royal Wedding Diary
With the eyes of the world on the Royal bride, hairdressers Richard Ward and James Pryce give HJi an exclusive insight into the biggest job of their careers
The two men behind Catherine Middleton's demi-chignon were her regular hairdresser James Pryce, who created the newly-named style for the bride, and Richard Ward. Here, the two stylists share their experience of the most fashionable wedding of the century.
Look out for HJ on 13 May for more from their diary!
<font class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 0.8em; ">Richard Ward and James Pryce</font>
James: "I've been Kate's stylist for around eight years now and we have a great relationship that's been built on trust and discretion. Shortly after the official engagement announcement, Kate called me and asked if I would go to Clarence House and style her hair for the press conference. There I was - jeans, t-shirt, trainers - in this beautiful location, styling the hair of the soon-to-be most recognisable woman in the world. I certainly didn't expect that when I woke up that morning!"
Richard: "I found out about Kate's engagement from my PR - we were booked to do a day of consumer press visits to launch my new range. Our day completely changed focus as the beauty editors moved their interest from my new products to Kate. The Middletons have been loyal customers for about eight years so although I hoped that one day an engagement would be announced, I never assumed it would be an automatic invitation to style her hair on the day."
James: "I continued to style Kate's hair following the engagement but we didn't really talk about the actual wedding. But come the New Year and the announcement of the wedding date, Kate asked if I would look after her on the day and if the Richard Ward team would style the bridal party. It was all very low key and because of our relationship Richard and I knew we couldn't talk about it to the press. We sat down and discussed how the day would work - how many stylists we'd need, who would do what, whose expertise would be required and how it would all happen without anyone outside the salon finding out! Richard and his wife Hellen called a team meeting and we talked through the need for confidentiality. We weren't able to confirm anything until it was announced officially later in the year."
Richard: "This was the month that everything really started to heat up on the media side. I look back now and wonder how on earth we coped! For 20 years Hellen and I have built our profile and suddenly there we were having to turn down all these press opportunities."
James: "Our PR had to decline press wanting to book in for the 'Kate' blow-dry but they were booking under fake names. A French journalist came in for a blow-dry, went to the bathroom, came out wearing the infamous blue dress and a photographer came out of the bar area and started snapping away. Other times they'd be a bit more discreet and wait until they were outside the salon and then take the shots."
"This was also the month that we started to pin down the look for Kate. She wanted a romantic feel and her hair had to complement that. Richard and I worked on three mood boards that showed different hair down, hair up and half up-half down styles. Kate was considering flowers in her hair, so the look needed to take that into account. Once we'd presented the ideas, Kate selected a few she liked and we started to work on those until she opted for the version she wore on the day."
James: "Once we'd decided on the style, it was a matter of getting the look right. Once Kate decided she was wearing a tiara, we needed to start practising. So, Richard and I locked ourselves in the back office and practised on Richard's PA - with a £5 fake tiara."
Richard: "The practices had to be done in secret. We don't have a VIP room so we needed to do this behind closed doors. The press were starting to write strange things about 'James practises hair up' 'James has tiara-placing lessons' so we knew we had to be really careful in the open salon - we just didn't know who the undercover reporters were."
James: "The last month was where everything had to come together. Richard and I were meeting with Kate more regularly and the key stylists who were involved in the bridal party were also meeting with her mother Carol and sister Pippa to talk through looks. There were nine of us involved in the day so I created a schedule for us all - who was doing what, what time, what room, how long. It had to be really organised as there was so much to do and really not that much time as the wedding was at 11am."
<font class="Apple-style-span" style="font-size: 0.8em; ">The Goring Hair Team</font>
The week of the wedding
James: "All those late nights, the practices in the salon and the meetings were all coming together. A calmness was coming over me and Richard as we realised we were ready."
Richard: "The week of the wedding was an exciting time. We forgot about all the press stories - stylists we'd never met selling their stories to the papers, fake exclusive interviews, gossip about James and I, and kept focused on the day ahead."
The wedding day
Richard: "It was such an amazing feeling to be part of this historical day. I was so proud of James and my team that morning. I was there with James as he created Kate's bridal look - usually the pressure is on me but that day was all about James; he did so well. I was there passing the pins, ticking a check list and loving every moment. The first time I saw the whole look come together was with the rest of the world - I watched it in The Goring with the rest of my hair team and it was so emotional we were all in tears."
James: "It was such a calm environment as Richard and I knew exactly what was required. People said it was a simple style - but trust me, when you have two billion people watching, it's not that simple! The whole look centred on the tiara and veil which had to be anchored and sewn on first. I had to do the whole look with the veil in place - that was a challenge. A lot of the detail was hidden and it took almost two hours to complete. Kate looked stunning and I'm so proud to have been part of her day. I was very fortunate to be invited to the Abbey and I can tell you, it was very emotional for me to see her walking down the aisle."
"Later, Richard and I tweaked the hair for the official photographs and of course the balcony kiss. It was definitely the most important day of my career and I'm really grateful to the team for all their support and Richard for his help over the past few months. It made me proud to be British!"
Richard: "It was a magical day and I'm so pleased to have been part of it. I just want to say a huge thank you to all my team for their support and involvement over the past few months; it's been a challenge but an exciting one and I'm so proud of them all. James was a real inspiration and we're all so grateful to Kate and the Middleton's for giving us the opportunity."