See-through dress which snared a prince up for sale

The see-through dress which helped Kate Middleton catch the eye of her husband-to-be Prince William is going under the hammer, the auctioneers said Monday.

The transparent lace dress worn during a charity fashion show at St Andrews University in Scotland is expected to fetch up to 10,000 pounds ($16,000, 12,000 euros) when it goes on sale next month.

Middleton, then aged 20, strode down the catwalk wearing the knitted mesh slip-dress and black underwear during the student show in 2002.

William, second in line to the throne, paid 200 pounds for a front-row seat and soon afterwards their friendship blossomed into romance. Some reports suggest he made his first move on her at a party later that evening.

The dress was designed by Charlotte Todd, who was a fashion and textile design student in 2000 at the University of the West of England in Bristol when she produced the garment for a project entitled "The Art of Seduction".

It took around a week to make and was intended as a skirt.

Two years later, she was invited to submit a garment for the annual St Andrews fashion show. The piece was selected for Middleton, who wore it as a dress.

"If it is true that my design helped change the prince's interest in Kate from platonic to romantic as has been reported, then I am pleased to have played a part - however minor," the 31-year-old said.

"I never would have imagined as I sat knitting this piece that one day it would be so important."

Todd did not pursue a career in fashion and is now a retail manager at an aquarium in Bristol, southwest England.

A spokesman for Kerry Taylor Auctions said the dress, which was only ever worn by Middleton, was expected to fetch between 8,000 and 10,000 pounds.

The auction, to be held in central London on March 17, also includes two gowns worn by William's mother, Diana, princess of Wales.

William and Kate will marry at Westminster Abbey in London on April 29.