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It all started when I heard the news that an auction would take place in London at which Kate Middleton’s famous dress would be up for sale. Having already started giving media interviews for my book, Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets, in which I described Kate as the quintessential good girl who used bad girl secrets to literally catch her Prince, I couldn’t resist. I had to have the dress that made Prince William take her out of the ‘platonic friend’ category and put her in the ‘love interest’ category. In fact, when I got to London, I discovered that rumor had it that, as the Prince saw Kate walk down the fashion show runway in her sexy black underwear and this see-through dress, he turned to his college friend and exclaimed, “She’s hot!” It was not just the sexy outfit, but her audacity that wowed the Prince. 

The Kerry Taylor Auction website estimated that it would go for $16,000 to $20,000. That seemed a small price to pay for a dress that would give hope to good girls everywhere – that they, too, could catch their prince if they follow the bad girls’ “6 Secret Spells of Seduction.” So, I boarded a plane and started my quest. Once in London, after taking a reminiscent ride down the Thames, a visit to Buckingham palace, and an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, I was the first one at the exhibition of all the items up for auction that took place before the day of the auction itself. 

There were many vintage designer fashions. But the highlights were a collection of Duchess of Windsor items, three Princess Diana dresses, and the crown jewel: Kate’s dress. I stayed there all day, eavesdropping on the potential buyers and doing lots of media interviews. When reporters learned that someone had come all the way from L.A. to bid on the dress, they just had to find out why. I came to realize that the dress was going to go for a lot more than what had originally been estimated. 


The next day, I again went to the exhibition of the auction items in the morning and was first in line at the auction that afternoon. The atmosphere was electric. There were almost 300 bidders there in person, a bank of operators taking bids by telephone and Internet, and a swarm of reporters, photographers and cameramen in the back glued to everything that was unfolding. Kate’s dress was the last item going up for bid. I realized that it was time to put plan B into action. I was determined to at least get lingerie from the Duchess of Windsor, who also relates to the message of my book. Just as Kate was the quintessential good girl using bad girl secrets, Wallis Simpson was the quintessential bad girl whose spell was so strong that she made King Edward VIII abdicate the British throne for her. 

But, this was to be no easy feat. Apparently, there were others determined to get the Duchess of Windsor items that I wanted. The bidding went back and forth endlessly, a high-priced game of chicken under the intense scrutiny of hundreds. Finally, I held my ground – if not my budget - and wound up with her three lace boudoir jackets and one shocking pink long nightgown and cape. They are beautiful prizes indeed, and make the point that any woman can land a prince if she knows the secrets. 

Finally, the moment to bid on Kate’s dress came. Although with other items, the auctioneer, Kerry Taylor, had started the bidding lower than the estimated price, this time she started at 20,000 pounds, or approximately $40,000 (including the added commission for the auctioneer). As Kerry turned to me for my bid, I must have looked like a deer caught in headlights. I had to bid. After all, that’s what I came for and by that time, everyone knew it. “28,500 pounds?” she asked, nodding at me. I raised my hand and agreed to that bid, holding my breath. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was soon outbid. The dress eventually sold for 65,000 pounds or approximately $130,000.


But, all was not lost. I had my four pieces of the bad girl Duchess’ lingerie and, that evening, I celebrated the auction with the designer of Kate’s dress, Charlotte Todd, and her family over champagne. My quest for the dress, or at least a replica, was not over, since Charlotte agreed to create a limited edition of Kate’s dress – and made me the U.S. Ambassador of it!

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