Holly Willoughby wears her mother’s 40th birthday dress as she marks milestone

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Holly Willoughby slipped into the dress her mother wore on her 40th birthday as she marked the milestone herself live on This Morning.

The TV star wore the blue floral print piece in a tribute to her mother, Linda, who she has been unable to see due to coronavirus restrictions.

Willoughby became tearful as she was surprised by her This Morning colleagues, including co-star Phillip Schofield, while arriving at the studio on Wednesday.

The group clapped and sang Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday before surprising her again with indoor pyrotechnics hidden behind the ITV show’s sofa.

After kicking off the show, she explained why she had wanted to wear an outfit belonging to her mother.

She said: “I knew it would feel nice to wear something she had worn on her day, when it was the same day.

“But there was a bit of a moment this morning as I was zipping it up.

“I was thinking ‘This is quite weird. My mum did this on her 40th birthday and now I am doing it on my 40th birthday’. It was quite special.

“And it seems more special because I can’t be with her today, obviously. It is nice to have this and feel a little closer.”

Willoughby also shared a throwback picture of Linda wearing the dress on Instagram, prompting compliments from famous friends including Piers Morgan and Emma Bunton.

She added: “I can’t be with my Mum or Dad today but wearing this in her honour makes me feel closer to them… love you Mumma!”

In a video message, presenting duo Ant and Dec revealed they had bought Willoughby a pair of cushions with their faces on, and planned to drop them off outside her home later in the day.

Presenters Bradley Walsh and Keith Lemon and the stars of Midsomer Murders also shared birthday messages on the show.

Her birthday celebrations also included a surprise beach party featuring a fake beach, a cocktail bar and Gok Wan as DJ.

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