Kate and William waxworks unveiled

Story highlights

  • Wax figures of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge unveiled at Madame Tussauds in London
  • The models took a team of artists four months to create -- at a cost of more than $230,000 each
  • London waxworks dressed, posed to recreate engagement announcement in 2010
  • Other models of the couple are to go on display in New York, Amsterdam and Blackpool, England

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attract crowds of cameramen and hoards of press photographers everywhere they go -- even when they aren't really there.

Wax models of William and Kate went on display at Madame Tussauds in London Wednesday, and were immediately swamped by onlookers keen to get close to the "royal couple."

The figures, which cost more than $230,000 each to make, are shown in copies of the outfits they wore when they announced their engagement in November 2010, complete with a replica of the ring once worn by William's mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

"Since the royal wedding, guests from all around the world have been asking where is Catherine? We want to come and have our photo taken with her," said Madame Tussauds spokeswoman Liz Edwards.

"So we've recreated the iconic moment where they announced to the world that they are in love with each other."

A team of artists and model makers spent four months working on the couple. Kate's hair alone took six weeks, each individual strand of real, ethically-sourced human hair inserted by hand.

Wax figures of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, are unveiled at Madame Tussauds in London on April 4, 2012.

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"It's really important for us that when people come and stand next to them, that they are seeing a piece of that real person," said Edwards.

    Unlike the subjects of most other Madame Tussauds waxworks, the company said William and Kate did not "sit" for their figures, but St James's Palace provided all the key measurements, and the finished pieces have been given the royal seal of approval.

    Other versions of the models will go on display at Madame Tussauds' attractions in Amsterdam and New York, and in Blackpool, in northern England.

    In each city, "Kate" will be shown in a different outfit: A lilac Alexander McQueen gown worn on the couple's U.S. tour in New York, a black lace Temperley London dress worn to a film premiere in Amsterdam, and a Jenny Packham gown worn at a charity dinner in Blackpool.

    Early reactions to the new figures suggest they are set to prove almost as popular as the real thing.

    "Unfortunately I don't think we'll ever get to meet the real ones," one visitor told CNN. "This is definitely a good substitute."

    "It's great," said another. "I can't see the difference between them and the real people."

    Madame Tussaud was born Marie Grosholtz in France in 1761, and learned to sculpt wax as a teenager -- her early subjects included Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin -- and went on to become a favorite of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

    During the French Revolution, she was imprisoned, and later commissioned to create death masks of many of those put to death on the guillotine. In 1802, she brought her waxworks to Britain and toured the country before settling in London, where she lived until her death in 1850.