It has been five years since Kate Middleton walked down the aisle and officially became Princess Kate – but her hairdresser Richard Ward remembers it like it was yesterday.
"I have some incredible memories of that day," Ward tells PEOPLE, remembering both the excitement of the occasion and the sheer relief that Kate's much-perfected demi-chignon (styled by himself and former employee James Pryce) stayed put.
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"When she walked back into Buckingham Palace and her hair was all still in place, I cannot tell you the relief we all felt!"
While the world watched and waited with anticipation for that jaw-dropping first look at the bride in Alexander McQueen, Ward's team of seven stylists had been working away at the Goring Hotel in London since 5:30 a.m.
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With the television and radio turned off, Kate was the picture of serenity. "I've seen brides far more nervous that Catherine!" recalls Ward, whose salon in Chelsea Kate has frequented since she was a student. "She was fantastic – she kept us calm, not the other way round!"
Later that evening it was Prince William's turn to lend a helping hand, quite literally. "I wanted to show Kate the back of her hair [getting ready at Clarence House for the evening party] and I was struggling to walk with this 500-year-old mirror. He just said, 'Let me give you a hand.' And I said, 'No, no, honestly.' But he took one end and I've got the other and we're shuffling along with this mirror – he's great, he really is."
"It was the most incredible experience and I'll never forget it."
Watch our exclusive video with Richard Ward on how to achieve the ultimate princess-worthy hair – and buy the Shine Angel and Tangle Angel brushes used by Ward at PEOPLE Shop right here.