Kate's see through dress makes £78,000

A see-through dress worn by Kate Middleton at a fashion show while she was a student at St Andrews University with Prince William has fetched £78,000 at auction.

The knitted gown, worn by Miss Middleton at the show attended by William in 2002, was sold to a private collector from Jersey.

Auctioneer Kerry Taylor had estimated the garment would sell for between £8,000 and £10,000.

The cost of the dress, excluding the buyer's premium, was £65,000.

A man at the back of the sales room, who would not give his name, bought it on behalf of an individual he would only name as "Nick from Jersey".

Prince William - who was already a friend - was in the audience at the fashion show and it is rumoured the striking dress was instrumental in turning the friendship into a romance.

In response to the many questions about the buyer, the successful proxy bidder said: "He thinks it's an iconic piece and is very happy with the purchase."

The auction started at £20,000 and, for a few minutes, there were ever-increasing bids made by phone via staff who sat along one side of the sales room.

But when the price reached around £50,000, the battle for the dress turned into a two-way tussle between the man at the back of the room and bids pre-registered with the auctioneer.

When the figure hit £65,000, Ms Taylor waited a few moments before ending the auction to applause from the many buyers in the room

The garment, designed and made by student Charlotte Todd, was initially intended as a skirt, but the show's organisers decided it would be better 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," said Ms Todd before the auction.

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

The auction also included two gowns worn by William's mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.