Kate Middleton's fashion choices have been in the spotlight ever since her engagement to Prince William. Now, a famous frock from Middleton's university years may be the hottest item at an auction — just weeks before the royal wedding.

The see-through dress Middleton modeled in 2002 at a charity fashion show at Scotland's St. Andrews University will go up for sale at Kerry Taylor Auctions in March. The knitted mesh slip was designed in 2000 by Charlotte Todd, who was then a fashion and textile design student at the University of the West of England.

The piece was part of Todd's project titled "The Art of Seduction."

"I'd like to call myself a royal matchmaker," Todd, 31, told The Associated Press. "It's definitely a showstopping dress. I'd like to think I played my part in history and in fashion history."

William reportedly paid 200 pounds (US$317) for a front-row seat at the charity show, which was one of the first times he saw Middleton — then 20 years old.

The dress, which Todd said cost about 30 pounds (US$48) to make, was originally designed as a skirt. Middleton instead modeled it as a strapless dress that revealed her black lace lingerie.

Since 2002, Todd, who now works at an aquarium, has kept the dress stashed in a wardrobe, not anticipating its importance.

"I'd love to know what Kate thinks of it now and what the royal family thinks of it, whether she's fed up of seeing that photo," she said.