Almost 40 years ago, more than 750 million people in 74 countries tuned in to watch Prince Charles marry Princess Diana.
In the eyes of millions it was a fairytale wedding, rumored to have had an actual audience of a billion, if you included those that tuned in on the radio.
The ceremony was held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London and watched by 3,500 guests, all seated in the 350-year-old building which provided the perfect backdrop to this must-see event.
St Paul’s was chosen over the traditional site of Westminster Abbey because it could seat more guests and allowed a longer procession through London – a procession where 2 million people lined the streets.
Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, wore his full dress naval commander uniform and Princess Diana wore a dress made of ivory silk taffeta and decorated with 10,000 pearls complete with a 25-foot train of ivory taffeta and antique lace.
The dress was designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel according to the 20-year-old bride’s specifications, who said she wanted it to have the longest train in royal wedding history, as per Vanity Fair.
The designers went to great lengths to ensure the design was kept a secret and even destroyed their sketches straight after they’d been shown to Diana.
But in case the design was to get in the wrong hands, another dress was made as a backup option.
All eyes were on this fairytale couple who had only met a few times before they got married so they were understandably very nervous.
It seems that their nerves got the better of them when it came to their wedding vows as they both made mistakes.
Charles said his vows first and instead of saying he would offer her “my worldly goods” he actually said “thy goods”.
Diana confused Charles‘ names and ended up calling him by the wrong name.
His full name is Charles Philip Arthur George but when it came to the vows, Diana called him Philip Charles.
The couple did decide to step away from reciting one wedding vow with Diana not promising to “obey” her husband.
Diana was vehemently opposed to using the word ‘obey’ in the line “to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part.” It caused a sensation at the time but after a bit of back and forth, she and Charles agreed to leave it out of their big day.
From the outside it seemed like the ultimate romantic affair but the two reportedly had their doubts from the beginning.
Despite the then 32-year-old Charles sending his bride-to-be a supportive note and gift on the eve of their wedding he had his doubts.
Royal author Penny Junor said: “Charles was not convinced he was doing the right thing in marrying Diana but there was no way out and, bolstered by the hope that things would be different once they were married, he put a brave face on it.”
In Charles’ note to Diana he wrote: “I’m so proud of you and when you come up I’ll be there at the altar for you tomorrow. Just look ’em in the eye and knock ’em dead'”, reports the Express.
His note accompanied the gift of a signet ring that bore the Prince of Wales feathers.
Diana had become tearful and moody in the run up to the wedding indicating she too had doubts about marrying Charles, doubts that were reinforced as early as their honeymoon when Camilla’s photographs fell out of Charles’ diary and Diana discovered that he was wearing cufflinks that were given to him by Camilla, as per Time.
The couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996, just a year before Diana tragically died following a car crash in Paris.
It’s sad to see images of such a beautiful day knowing what we know now. It appears as though this couple was doomed from the start.
Diana looked so beautiful on her wedding day and I hope she was happy, despite the initial doubts.
Please share with all the royal fans you know.