29 July 1981: the Marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer

Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, married Lady Diana Frances Spencer, daughter of the eighth Earl Spencer on 29 July 1981 after a short engagement that had been announced on 24 February the same year.

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on the day their engagement was announced, 24 February 1981
Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on the day their engagement was announced, 24 February 1981

The marriage ceremony was held at St Paul’s Cathedral rather than the more traditional Westminster Abbey as it could hold more guests. Charles, a future King of Great Britain, and Diana invited 3,500 guests. It was solemnised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Robert Runcie.

Diana travelled to St Paul’s in the Glass Coach with her father. Her gown was designed by husband and wife duo David and Elizabeth Emmanuel. It was a stunning dress made of ivory taffeta and antique lace with a record-breaking 25-foot train. Charles wore the uniform of a naval commander.

Lady Diana Spencer in the Glass Coach travelling to St Paul's Cathedral
Lady Diana Spencer in the Glass Coach travelling to St Paul’s Cathedral

Diana wore the Spencer tiara, rather than choosing one from the Royal Collection.

Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing the Spencer Tiara
Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing the Spencer Tiara

Charles was supported by his brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Diana had five bridesmaids, including Lady Sarah Armstong-Jones, now Lady Chatto, the daughter of Princess Margaret and Earl Snowdon.

Around 600,000 people congregated in London to watch the royal processions to and from St Paul’s and to join in the celebrations.

The marriage was viewed by an estimated television and radio audience of 1,000 million people.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds headed to Buckingham Palace for the traditional wedding breakfast in the open-topped State Landau Coach.

Diana and Charles
The new Princess of Wales with her husband Prince Charles inside Buckingham Palace

Their kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in front of thousands of cheering royal fans was the first in what became a tradition for royal weddings.

Charles and Diana on the balcony of Buckingham Palace
Charles and Diana on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, 29 July 1981
Diana viewing the cheering spectators from the balcony of Buckingham Palace
Diana viewing the cheering spectators from the balcony of Buckingham Palace

Charles and Diana separated in December 1992 and they divorced on 28 August 1996. Diana died in a Paris car crash on 31 August 1997.

See my post marking the birthday of Diana, Princess of Wales here.

See my post on Diana: Her Fashion Story – the Kensington Palace Exhibition here.

 

Source:

BBC

https://www.royal.uk/diana-princess-wales

Images from Pinterest

 

14 thoughts on “29 July 1981: the Marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer

  1. As an American, the royal family isn’t as prominent as they would be for British citizens. I grew up in the 1980s and my mother loved Princess Diana. I was much too small for the wedding, but I remember when both of the princes were born. I also remember her crying when Princess Diana was killed. I have followed the princes as they have grown up, married and had children. (Prince Harry is only newly married so, I have followed his accomplishments and set the DVR to record his wedding to Miss Markle.) The younger of the royals have changed the world’s view of royal families, but their mother was a shining symbol of change in how the royal family operated. I grew up thinking it was normal for royals to flit about the globe doing charity work and she and her boys have made it normal. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember that day very well!! As a 15 year old girl, it was like a fairy tale come true. I was up at around 3 am to watch the coverage. The world lost such a treasure when she passed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this post! I’m a big fan of on this day kind of posts,I find these extremely intriguing and fascinating. Diana is an enigma and this wedding was an important one,as far as royal weddings go,despite how the marriage turned out. I loved the unique pictures and how you used them a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gorgeous post and lovely I loved the inclusion of those unusual pics that hadn’t been seen before. I vividly remember watching this – my first royal wedding, and I had a jigsaw of that engagement picture that I completed many years later!

    Liked by 1 person

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