Like mother, like daughter! The world knows all about Kate Middleton setting fashion trends. Once again, fans were wowed by her radiant appearance in her bespoke Jenny Packham dress. Not even a day old, Princess Charlotte also caused many to wonder who the newborn was wearing as she made her big debut on the steps of the Lindo Wing.
Hundreds of photographs were snapped and shared with millions, but one small business was especially surprised when they saw the little one's bonnet. Irulea, an 82-year-old family run business located 800 miles from St. Mary's Hospital in the Spanish city of San Sebastián, couldn't believe when they saw the little Princess was presented to the world wearing one of their handmade creations.
In fact HELLO! can reveal the intriguing truth behind the cream bonnet that Charlotte wore for her debut appearance. Instead of being purchased in a smart London boutique, the bonnet, along with other baby items, were bought by Prince George Spanish nanny, Maria Burrallo, and organized by her weeks ahead of the baby’s arrival.
"It was a pleasant surprise when we saw the first images of Princess Charlotte and saw that she was wearing our bonnet," Ayago Villar, who runs the shop with her sister Susana, tells HELLO!. "It was made in our shop, it's all handmade."
Ayago explains that she was only alerted to the fact that the baby girl was wearing one of the company's creations when her regular customers noticed it on television and in photographs."Some of our clients alerted us and we soon recognized it was ours," she says, adding that she then realized who the purchaser had been.
"We know who bought it," she continues. "She asked for white and ivory clothes, she said that it was for a baby whose gender was not known yet and it was a gift from her."
The buyer never confirmed her identity to Ayago, but the smallest details hinted that the bonnet was destined for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's baby. "She never said who she was," explains Ayago. "She was very, very discreet, but some details gave her away and I realized she was close to the British Royal Family. Everything she was buying was for newborns, she wanted the most handmade items, very simple items, nothing ostentatious."
Maria’s mother had been in touch with the shop, which dates back to 1932, several times before visiting: “She asked to visit during our lunch break, when the shop was closed. It was the only time she could so we had no problem. When she came she asked for several items and reserved them. She took pictures of the white and ivory pieces, including bed sheets, jumpers, baby outfits and shoes, as well as the bonnet, which she sent to Maria via Whatsapp in the UK."
Ayago adds, "We knew the clothes were for Kate’s baby. [But] she was very discreet and never identified herself as someone close the royal family. But because of names, surnames and the address… We worked it out."
Sales of similar items haven’t, as yet, gone through the roof says Irulea but, “a lot of people are coming in and social media is going crazy, Facebook, emails etc.”
Princess Charlotte’s big brother Prince George’s birth two years ago boosted the economy to the tune of $368 million and while a second baby might not bring the same returns, the fact that she’s a girl will have a significant impact. Retail experts have already estimated that the new Princess will bring $230 million a year to the economy, most of which will probably benefit the fashion and beauty industry. That means before she is even 10 years old, she could be worth over a billion dollars.
Irulea, whose other high-profile customers have included Bruce Springsteen and the late Duchess of Alba, both regular visitors to San Sebastian, can no doubt soon expect to see their royal endorsement increase sales in the near future.