The Fairy Tale Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer

The wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on July 29, 1981, at St Paul's Cathedral in London, United Kingdom, was a grand affair that captured the hearts of millions around the world. It...

The wedding of Charles and Diana commemorated on a 1981 British crown coin

The wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on July 29, 1981, at St Paul's Cathedral in London, United Kingdom, was a grand affair that captured the hearts of millions around the world. It was a true fairy tale wedding that marked the union of the heir to the British throne and a member of the Spencer family. Let's delve into the details of this extraordinary event.

A Love Story for the Ages

Prince Charles first encountered Lady Diana Spencer in 1977 when he was dating her elder sister, Lady Sarah. However, it wasn't until 1980 that their relationship started to blossom. The couple spent time together sailing on the royal yacht Britannia and visiting Balmoral Castle, where Diana was welcomed warmly by Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. After several dates in London, Charles proposed to Diana on February 3, 1981, in the nursery at Windsor Castle. Their engagement remained a secret for a few weeks before being officially announced on February 24, 1981.

The Wedding Ceremony: A Spectacle to Remember

The wedding ceremony took place at St Paul's Cathedral and was presided over by the Dean of St Paul's, Alan Webster, and conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie. The event was attended by numerous members of royal families, heads of state, and the families of the bride and groom. After the ceremony, the newlyweds made their iconic appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, delighting the crowd. The United Kingdom even declared a national holiday to celebrate their marriage.

Their union was dubbed the "wedding of the century" and captivated an estimated global television audience of 750 million people. Street parties were held throughout the United Kingdom, and events were organized around the Commonwealth to commemorate this joyous occasion. Unfortunately, after fifteen years of marriage, the couple separated in 1992 and officially divorced in 1996.

The Wedding Attire: A Symbol of Elegance

Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer

Diana's wedding dress was a masterpiece, valued at £9,000. It was made of ivory silk taffeta, adorned with lace, hand embroidery, sequins, and 10,000 pearls. The dress was designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel and featured a 25-foot train of ivory taffeta and antique lace, fulfilling Diana's dream of having the longest train in royal wedding history. She wore her family's heirloom tiara and an ivory silk tulle veil, with her hair styled by Kevin Shanley.

Prince Charles wore his full dress naval commander uniform, complete with the stars of the Orders of the Garter and the Thistle. The wedding rings were crafted from Welsh gold, maintaining the tradition of using Welsh gold in the royal family's wedding rings since 1923.

A Majestic Celebration

The wedding ceremony was accompanied by magnificent music performed by three choirs, three orchestras, and a fanfare ensemble. The choirs included the Bach Choir, the Choir of St Paul's Cathedral, and the Choir of the Chapel Royal. The orchestras were the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the English Chamber Orchestra. The musical repertoire featured classical compositions like "Prince of Denmark's March," "I Vow to Thee, My Country," and "Pomp and Circumstance No. 4," as well as the British National Anthem, "God Save the Queen." Renowned soprano Kiri Te Kanawa also performed "Let The Bright Seraphim" from G. F. Handel's Samson.

A Start to Forever

Following the ceremony, the couple and their guests enjoyed a wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace. Charles and Diana then appeared on the balcony and shared a kiss, a now-iconic moment that marked the beginning of the tradition of the balcony kiss. Fireworks illuminated the sky above Hyde Park, and 100 beacons were lit across the country to celebrate this joyous occasion.

The couple embarked on their honeymoon, which began with a train journey to Broadlands in Hampshire, where Charles's parents spent their wedding night. They then cruised the Mediterranean on the Royal Yacht Britannia, visiting Tunisia, Sardinia, Greece, and Egypt. They concluded their honeymoon in Scotland, where they stayed at Balmoral Castle, the royal family's Scottish home.

The wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer will forever be remembered as a moment of enchantment and grandeur. It symbolized the continuity of the monarchy and captured the imagination of people worldwide. It was a wedding fit for a fairy tale, marking the union of two individuals who would forever hold a place in history.