16 Flashback Facts About the Wedding of Charles & Diana!
When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot today, Prince Charles — Harry's father and heir apparent to the British throne — will play the important role of walking Markle down the aisle.
Check out these royally interesting facts about Charles' own wedding, to the late Princess Diana, to better understand the world's love affair with royal nuptials!
(1) Charles, Prince of Wales (b. 1948), and Lady Diana Spencer (1961-1997) were wed on Wednesday, July 29, 1981, at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.
(2) Diana was a member of the Spencer Family, one of Britain's great aristocratic lines, which included British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965). She was the daughter of John Spencer, the 8th Earl Spencer (1924-1992).
(3) The couple had met in 1977, Charles initiated a courtship in 1980 that lasted six months, and he proposed on February 3, 1981, at Windsor Castle — in the nursery! They had met only 13 times before becoming engaged.
(4) Diana lost so much weight in advance of her big day that she shrank from a 29-inch waist to a 23.5-inch waist, leading to no fewer than 15 fittings.
(5) India Hicks (b. 1967), Prince Charles' goddaughter, served as one of Princess Diana's bridesmaids. She was vacationing in the Bahamas when she got the call from Charles, not Diana, asking her to be in the ceremony. On the day of the ceremony, Hicks recalls Diana preparing for her wedding in jeans and a tiara (her family's heirloom), watching herself on a tiny TV, and leading a sing-along to a TV commercial jingle for Cornetto ice cream.
(6) Diana's shoes were famous for their heart motifs, but few knew the letters "C" and "D" were painted on the bottoms of the shoes, for "Charles" and "Diana." How romantic — a secret only Diana knew!
(7) Diana's gown of ivory silk taffeta, lace, sequins, and pearls was designed by Elizabeth Emanuel (b. 1953) and David Emanuel (b. 1952), a husband-and-wife design team — who later divorced. The dress was famous for its endless train, which was Diana's idea. Their wedding bands were made of Welsh gold — a royal tradition.
(8) A makeup artist recently revealed that Diana, rushing to dab some of her fave scent (Quelques Fleursher) on her wrist, spilled some on her gown. With no time to do anything else, she simply grasped that part of the dress to hide the stain, giving the impression that she was merely holding her gown to avoid tripping.
(9) According to a onetime Toronto Star staffer photographer, each media outlet shooting the wedding was granted a small space on the roof of a building opposite the church, from which they would photograph the history-making event.
The crowd went wild when the newly married couple kissed!
(10) Diana famously arrived for the nuptials in a glass coach with her dad.
(11) It took Diana three and a half minutes to march up the aisle.
(12) The ceremony was presided over by Alan Brunskill Webster (1918-2007).
(13) Nobody's perfect — Diana called her husband-to-be "Philip Charles Arthur George" instead of "Charles Philip Arthur George," and Charles said "thy goods" instead of "my worldly goods." Their vows were far more sensational due to the exclusion of the traditional pledge for a bride to "obey" her groom, a change that is commonplace today but that at the time caused tongues to wag.
(14) The massive ceremony held 3,500 guests, including all of the crowned heads of Europe except Spain's King Juan Carlos (b. 1938). Nancy Reagan (1921-2016)represented the United States.
(15) Charles and Diana had 27 wedding cakes, and their official cake — a five-foot tall fruit cake — had a backup.
(16) In all, it is estimated the wedding was watched by a global audience of 750 million.