- Rachel Burchfield
The secrets of Charles and Diana’s wedding
On this day, 39 years ago (!), Charles, Prince of Wales, 32, married Lady Diana Spencer, who had just turned 20 earlier in the month. I wasn’t born yet on Wednesday, July 29, 1981, but millions of Americans – including my mom – tuned in to watch the fairytale unfold. In fact, 750 million watched from around the world.
And while the marriage was shit, the wedding was spectacular. Here’s a few facts about the event:
· It took place at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. It was declared a national holiday.
· Charles and Diana chose St. Paul’s over Westminster Abbey because it offered more seating. There were 3,500 in attendance – including Charles’ ex (and later mistress, and now wife) Camilla Parker-Bowles, who Diana spotted as she walked down the aisle (very much knowing who she was).
· The cost of the wedding is estimated at $48 million in 1981 dollars – between $70 and $110 million today. Over $600,000 was spent on security alone.
· The carriage that held Diana and her father, John Spencer, was too small to hold the two of them and Diana’s massive dress.
· It took Diana three and a half minutes to walk down the aisle.
· When saying her vows, a petrified Diana flubbed the order of her husband’s name, saying “Philip Charles Arthur George” instead of “Charles Philip Arthur George.”
· For his part, Charles messed up too, vowing to offer her “thy goods” instead of “my worldly goods.”
· Diana refused to say she would obey Charles in her vows; this caused a huge stir at the time.
· Diana’s dress was, in 1981 pounds, valued at 9,000, which is roughly 34,750 pounds today. Made of ivory silk taffeta and decorated with lace, hand embroidery, sequins, and 10,000 pearls, it was designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel.
· Because of bridal nerves (and a rampant eating disorder), Diana’s dress had to be taken in from a 27-inch waist to a 23-inch waist before the wedding.
· Her dress had a hidden good luck charm – an 18-carat gold horseshoe trinket adorned with white diamonds.
· The train of the dress was a whopping 25 feet, fulfilling Di’s wish to have the longest train in Royal Wedding history.
· Diana wore her family’s heirloom tiara, an ivory silk tulle veil, and low-heeled shoes with “C” and “D” hand-painted on the arches.
· Diana wore Quelques Fleurs by Houbigant Parfum, the oldest French fragrance company – and, in her jitters while putting the perfume on, spilled it all over herself and the dress. If you look closely, you can spot her trying to cover the stain up during the ceremony.
· Diana had two identical wedding bouquets because the Queen insisted – Her Majesty lost her bouquet at her own wedding, and didn’t want the same to happen to her daughter-in-law.
· After the ceremony, 120 guests went to Buckingham Palace for a wedding breakfast. Upon appearing on the palace balcony to greet well-wishers, the couple kissed, thereby starting that tradition.
· The couple had 27 cakes, one of which weighed 225 pounds.
Final note: This has nothing to do with the wedding, but hey, he is their kid – check out Prince William on “That Peter Crouch Podcast,” where he talks about his obsessive love for soccer (football) and the worst gift he ever bought Kate.