Chloe Savage, the embroiderer who helped create both Kate Middleton's and Meghan Markle's iconic wedding gowns, is now on the brink of homelessness, she told People magazine.
Savage's once flourishing and acclaimed embroidery business has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Savage met Middleton while working on her wedding dress and said she was "lovely" and the "usual blushing bride."
The embroiderer also worked on the 16-foot-long veil that Markle paired with a Givenchy wedding gown.
A woman who helped create both Kate Middleton's and Meghan Markle's wedding dresses says she is now on the brink of homelessness because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chloe Savage opened up to People magazine about how her once flourishing embroidery business - which saw her work displayed on two of the most famous women in the world - had almost completely disappeared.
"It's been horrific," Savage, 43, told People's Phil Boucher. "We've had all our work literally dry up. My 14-year-old daughter is skipping meals to save on the food budget. The stress is getting to her and she is self-harming too. So, she's now going to Child Mental Health Services to get support."
Business was once booming for the royal embroiderer
Savage has worked on projects for Victoria Beckham and Daniel Craig, and her creations have even appeared in the "Harry Potter" films.
But no spotlight on Savage's work was brighter than that of Middleton's and Markle's royal weddings, which were watched by millions of people around the world.
Savage worked on both women's gowns while she was at the Royal School of Needlework in Hampton Court Palace, the former home of King Henry VIII.
"Kate came in a few times, she was lovely," Savage told People. "The usual blushing bride. She was excited about the dress, nervous about the day, questioning what we were doing … all that sort of stuff."
Middleton's custom wedding dress, designed by Alexander McQueen's creative director Sarah Burton, featured floral embroidery on the sleeves that paid homage to the UK. The roses, thistles, daffodils, and shamrocks represented the four national emblems of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Savage said she helped appliqué all the lace to Middleton's gown and shoes and also worked on her blue silk and white lace garter.
The embroiderer wasn't in the office when Markle came in to see her dress, but Savage did work on the 16-foot veil that Markle paired with her Givenchy gown.
"It gave you snow blindness after an hour or so because you were constantly working white on white," Savage told People. "You start to go a little bit cross-eyed after a while!"
Markle's veil featured California poppies and flowers of the Commonwealth, a tribute to both her and Prince Harry's roots.
But as the UK went into lockdown because of the pandemic, Savage said, her contracts were put on hold and her projects disappeared.
She decided to shut down her Chloe Savage Embroidery studio. Though she received a $30,000 loan from the UK government, almost the entire check had to go to paying for the studio's bills, she told People.
Savage, who lives just outside Bristol, England, told People she was making about $250 a month from sales of her embroidery kits. Her parents have since turned their garage into a new studio for her and are also selling her father's vintage Morris Minor car.
Savage said she'd applied for welfare benefits in the UK four times but had been denied. She is now hoping she might be able to get some work on a coming costume project for HBO.
"It might just keep us vaguely floating," she said. "As long as nothing goes wrong."
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