Kate Middleton's hairstylist, Richard Ward, has been given strict instructions by the princess-to-be that William must be able to recognise her when she gets to the altar. Ward's Chelsea salon has been given the task of styling Kate's hair for the royal wedding, as well as that of her mother, Carole, and sister, Pippa. Senior stylist James Pryce will head up the team responsible for creating the bride-to-be's requested natural look.

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"We've had many practise runs - and not just with Kate," says Ward. "The one rule is, by the time she gets to the end of the altar her husband must recognise her." Pryce and Ward will join Kate's team of dressers, who will be helping her get ready tomorrow morning at the Goring Hotel in Belgravia.

Despite the pressure and intense scrutiny of Miss Middleton since the royal engagement was announced, Ward - who has been tending to Kate's luscious tresses for eight years - insists that her upcoming marriage to Prince William hasn't changed her. "She is absolutely lovely, like any 29-year-old girl... She hasn't changed, she's just become more self-assured. She's caring, honest and good, and I haven't seen anything that will change that."

Admitting that Kate's association with the salon has been good for business, Ward believes the princess-to-be should be seen as a hair style icon. "We have a lot of people from America coming in. How Kate wears her hair typifies how you should be wearing your hair today... it needs to gleam with health, it needs to shine, it needs really rich deep colour. We're lucky because she has amazing hair," he tells DAILYMAIL.CO.UK.