Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer
Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer on their wedding day.
|Date||29 July 1981, 11:20 am BST|
|Location||St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom|
|Participants||Charles, Prince of Wales, Lady Diana Spencer, Elizabeth II, The Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, The Princess Anne, The Prince Andrew, The Prince Edward, The 8th Earl Spencer, Frances Shand Kydd, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Lady Jane Fellowes, Charles Spencer, Viscount Althorp|
The wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer took place on Wednesday 29 July 1981 at St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom. The ceremony was a traditional Church of England wedding service. Notable figures in attendance included many members of royal families from across the world, republican heads of state, and members of the bride's and groom's families. Their marriage was widely billed as a "fairytale wedding" and the "wedding of the century". It was watched by an estimated global TV audience of 750 million. The United Kingdom had a national holiday on that day to mark the wedding. The couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.
The Prince of Wales had known Lady Diana Spencer for several years. He took serious interest in her as a potential bride when they were guests at a country weekend, where she watched him play polo. He invited her for a sailing weekend to Cowes aboard the royal yacht Britannia as their relationship began to develop. This was followed by an invitation to Balmoral Castle, the Windsor family's Scottish home, to meet his family. Diana was well received at Balmoral by The Queen, Prince Philip, and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The couple then had several dates in London. Diana and Charles had been seeing each other for about six months when he proposed on 3 February 1981 in the nursery at Windsor Castle. Diana had planned a holiday for the next week, and Charles hoped she would use the time to consider her answer. Diana accepted, but their engagement was kept secret for the next few weeks.
Their engagement became official on 24 February 1981, after Diana selected an elegant, large £30,000 engagement ring that consisted of 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-karat white gold. Many copies of the ring have been made in well-established jewellery shops and high-street fashion chains worldwide.
3,500 guests made up the congregation at St Paul's Cathedral. Charles and Diana selected St Paul's over Westminster Abbey, the traditional site of royal weddings, because St Paul's offered more seating and permitted a longer procession through the streets of London.
The ceremony was a traditional Church of England wedding service, presided over by the Most Reverend Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Very Reverend Alan Webster, Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral. An estimated 750 million people watched the ceremony worldwide, and this figure allegedly rose to a billion when the radio audience is added in, although there are no means of verifying these figures. Two million spectators lined the route of Diana's procession from Clarence House, with 4,000 police and 2,201 military officers to manage the crowds.
All of the Queen's governors-general, as well as Europe's crowned heads, attended, with the exception of King Juan Carlos I of Spain. (The Spanish king was advised not to attend by his government because the newlyweds' honeymoon included a stopover in the disputed territory of Gibraltar). Most of Europe's elected heads of state were among the guests, with the exceptions of the President of Greece, Constantine Karamanlis (who declined because Greece's exiled monarch, Constantine II, a kinsman and friend of the bridegroom, had been invited as "King of the Hellenes"), and the President of Ireland, Patrick Hillery (who was advised by Taoiseach Charles Haughey not to attend because of the dispute over the status of Northern Ireland).[fn 1]
Lady Diana arrived at the cathedral in the Glass Coach with her father, John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, and escorted by six mounted Metropolitan Police officers. She arrived almost on time for the 11:20 BST ceremony. The carriage was too small to hold the two of them comfortably due to her voluminous dress and train. She made the three-and-a-half minute walk up the red-carpeted aisle with the sumptuous 25 ft (8 m) train of gown behind her.
Diana accidentally changed the order of Charles's names during her vows, saying "Philip Charles Arthur George" instead of the correct "Charles Philip Arthur George". Charles also made an error. He said he would offer her "thy goods" instead of "my worldly goods". She did not promise to "obey" him as part of the traditional vows. That word was eliminated at the couple's request, which caused a sensation at the time.
Other church representatives present who gave prayers following the service were a former Archbishop of Canterbury, Donald Coggan, Cardinal Basil Hume, the Right Reverend Andrew Doig and the Reverend Harry Williams CR.
Three choirs, three orchestras and a fanfare ensemble played the music for the service. These were the Bach Choir, the Choir of St. Paul's Cathedral, the Choir of the Chapel Royal, the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra and a fanfare ensemble from the Royal Military School. The choirs were conducted by Barry Rose, the choirmaster at St. Paul's Cathedral. The cathedral's organist, Christopher Dearnley; and its sub-organist, John Scott; played the organ. The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra were conducted by Sir David Willcocks, who was the director of the Royal College of Music; Richard Popplewell, the organist at Chapel Royal; and Sir Colin Davis, who was the musical director of Covent Garden. Music and songs used during the wedding included the "Prince of Denmark's March", "I Vow to Thee, My Country", "Pomp and Circumstance No.4" and the British National Anthem.
Diana's wedding dress was valued at £9000 (equivalent to £31,110 in 2015), The dress was made of ivory silk taffeta, decorated with lace, hand embroidery, sequins, and 10,000 pearls. It was designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel and had a 25-foot train of ivory taffeta and antique lace. Charles wore his full dress naval commander uniform.
The royal couple had seven bridal attendants. Eleven-year-old Lord Nicholas Windsor, son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and eight-year-old Edward van Cutsem, godsons of the Prince of Wales, were page boys. Diana's bridesmaids were seventeen-year-old Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, daughter of the Earl of Snowdon and Princess Margaret; thirteen-year-old India Hicks, the granddaughter of the Earl Mountbatten of Burma and daughter of David and Lady Pamela Hicks; six-year-old Catherine Cameron, daughter of Donald and Lady Cecil Cameron and granddaughter of the Marquess of Lothian; eleven year-old Sarah-Jane Gaselee, daughter of Nick Gaselee and his wife; and five-year-old Clementine Hambro, daughter of Rupert Hambro and the Hon Mrs Hambro (now Countess Peel) and granddaughter of Lord and Lady Soames and great-granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill. Andrew and Edward were the Prince of Wales's supporters (the equivalent of "best man" for a royal wedding).
The couple and 120 guests went to Buckingham Palace for a wedding breakfast following the ceremony. Diana and Charles made a traditional appearance on a balcony of Buckingham Palace at 13:10 BST, and delighted the crowd when they kissed.
The couple had 27 wedding cakes. The official wedding cake was supplied by the Naval Armed Forces. David Avery, head baker at the Royal Naval cooking school in Chatham Kent, made the cake over 14 weeks. They made two identical cakes in case one was damaged. The couple's other wedding cake was created by Belgian pastry chef S. G. Sender, who was known as the "cakemaker to the kings". Another wedding cake was created by Chef Nicholas Lodge; Chef Nicholas had previously made the Queen Mother's 80th Birthday Cake and would be commissioned to create a Christening Cake for Prince Harry.
A "just married" sign was attached to the landau by Princes Andrew and Edward, which raised smiles as the married couple was driven over Westminster Bridge to catch the train from Waterloo station to Romsey in Hampshire to begin their honeymoon.
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- The Aga Khan and Princess Salimah Aga Khan
- Prince and Princess Ludwig of Baden (Charles's first cousin and his wife)
- The King and Queen of the Belgians
- King Simeon II and Queen Margarita of the Bulgarians
- The Queen and Prince Henrik of Denmark
- King Constantine II of the Hellenes (Charles's second cousin)
- Prince and Princess George William of Hanover (Charles's aunt and uncle)
- Prince Georg of Hanover (Charles's first cousin)
- Prince and Princess Karl of Hesse, born countess Yvonne Szapáry von Muraszombath, Széchysziget u.Szapár (Charles's first cousin and his wife)
- Princess Christina Margarethe of Hesse and Robert van Eyck (Charles's first cousin and her husband)
- Princess Dorothea and Prince Friedrich Karl of Windisch-Grätz (Charles's first cousin and her husband)
- Princess Marina of Windisch-Grätz
- The Princess of Hesse and by Rhine
- The Prince and Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, born princess Charlotte Von Cröy (Charles's first cousin and his wife)
- Prince and Princess Andreas of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, born princess Luise von Schönburg-Waldenburg (Charles's first cousin and his wife)
- Prince and Princess Albrecht of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, born María Hildegard (Charles's first cousin and his wife)
- Princess Beatrix of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (Charles's first cousin)
- The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Japan
- The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Jordan
- The Queen of Lesotho
- The Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein
- The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
- The Princess of Monaco
- Prince Gyanendra and Princess Komal of Nepal
- The Queen and Prince Claus of the Netherlands
- The King of Norway
- King Michael I and Queen Anne of Romania
- The King and Queen of Sweden
- Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand
- The King and Queen of Tonga
- The Malietoa of Western Samoa
- Former Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia
- Prince and Princess Tomislav of Yugoslavia (Charles's first cousin and her husband)
- Prince Nikola of Yugoslavia
- Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia (Charles's first cousin once removed)
- Prince Christopher of Yugoslavia
- Princess Maria Tatiana of Yugoslavia
- Princess Olga of Yugoslavia
- Prince and Princess Alexander of Yugoslavia (Charles's second cousin and his wife)
- Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia (Charles's second cousin)
The couple left from Waterloo station in the British Royal Train + 975025 Caroline. They travelled to Broadlands, where Prince Charles's parents had spent their wedding night in 1947. They stayed there for three days, then flew to Gibraltar, where they boarded the Royal Yacht Britannia for an eleven-day cruise of the Mediterranean, visiting Tunisia, Sardinia, Greece and Egypt. Then they flew to Scotland, where the rest of the royal family had gathered at Balmoral Castle, and spent time in a hunting lodge on the estate. During that time, the press was given an arranged opportunity to take pictures.
- The period when the advice was given coincided with a change of government. Traditionally Irish presidents and British royalty did not meet publicly because of the Northern Ireland issue.
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- UK Consumer Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Gregory Clark (2016), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)", MeasuringWorth.com.
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