The Everlasting Love Between Queen El...
Before there are Will and Kate, there were Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip – the ultimate royal couple. Read their love story from the very beginning to their current bliss.
Though it was not a ‘happily ever after’ kind of marriage but it was a true ‘fairytale’ wedding. Princess Diana wedding was named the ‘Wedding of the Century’, for lots of good reasons. The Royal wedding was extravagantly organized on 29, July, 1981. On this significant day, Lady Diana Spencer became Princess Diana, Princess of Wales. It was declared a national holiday in United Kingdom. The whole wedding was given a live coverage on television as well as on radio. Approximately 750 million viewers watched it on television worldwide.
Prince Charles and Diana Spencer dated about six months before their nuptial. It was on 3 February, 1981 that Prince Charles proposed. But the engagement was kept secret for some time due to personal reasons. Later it was announced, officially. She wore an elegant ring worth £30,000. The 18 karat white gold ring had a 12 carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire, encircled by 14 solitaire diamonds.
It was a gown worth £9000 and is still one of the most expensive wedding gowns ever. The vintage style voluminous dress was prepared of ivory silk taffeta. It was elegantly embellished with accents like lace (Queen Mary’s), sequins, around 10,000 pearls combined with delicate hand-embroidery. The gown had a record 25 ft or 8m long train, which was really hard to manage. As one of the bridesmaid India Hicks recalled later in one of her interview with ‘Tatler’, magazine, “At the rehearsals, a dust cloth was tied at Diana's waist and we were shown how to fold and unfold the fabric so it would glide behind the bride, On the day itself...panic took over and we resorted to a lot of pushing and creasing."
Specially made by the Royal cobbler, Clive Shilton, the shoes were both gorgeous and comfy. They were made of suede soles to prevent any falling or slipping incident. Heels were quite low to make the couple look equal in height. The royal shoes were made of silk and lace with intricate detailing of 150 pearls and around 500 sequins.
The delicate Tiera that she wore, belonged to the Spencer family. Though quite delicate looking, but reportedly it had given headache to the princess for wearing too long. The stunning gold Tiera featured many skillfully cut diamonds.
Princess Diana carried a fresh-from-the-garden bridal cascading bouquet, filled with flowers like gardenias, lily of the valley, orchids, stephanotis, freesias, Earl Mountbatten roses (a tribute to Lord Louis Mountbatten-- Charles’ late uncle).
The classy bridal party was consisted of seven bridal attendants and page boys and all of them were of royal origin. The page boys were wearing black shirts and white trousers. The bridesmaids enrobed ivory scalloped attires and yellow sashes on the waistline. All of them looked adorable, holding the baskets of flowers with yellow roses and wildflowers. Addition of floral headpieces elevated their overall look. Suzy Menkes, fashion editor concluded about them in ‘The Times’, "they could have been plucked from a Victorian child's scrapbook."
Westminster Abbey is the traditional place for royal weddings but Prince Charles and Princess Diana preferably chose St Paul’s Cathedral in London. It was both spacious for seating arrangement as well as more supportive for a longer procession through the London streets.
Around 3,500 guests were part of the congregation at St. Paul Cathedral, London. All the streets and routes from Clarence House to the Cathedral were crowded with spectators. ‘The Times’ described the whole as ‘carnival atmosphere’. Around 4,000 policemen along with 2,201 military officers were there to check the security and manage the crowd.
Princess Diana Wedding ceremony starts with her arrival at the cathedral. Sitting in a glass coach, with her father, John Spencer, she made a memorable grand entry to the hall. With a 40 ft long wedding veil over her face, holding a bouquet, Diana was the classiest bride ever to walk down the aisle, hands in hands with her father.
The royal wedding was given a romantically distinctive touch of music to celebrate the upcoming married life. Songs like “I vow to thee, my country”, Pomp and Circumstance No.4, Prince of Denmark’s March and British National Anthem were made part of the ceremony.
The wedding vows by Diana were quite non-traditional and stirred a buzz in the social circles. She excluded the promise to ‘obey’ her better half and took an oath to "love him, comfort him, honor and keep him in sickness and health." The following video shows the details:
With all the best wishes to the bride and groom by the guests, they left the cathedral, in an open carriage, to the Buckingham palace for a royal reception. Thousands of people were there to greet the new royal couple with cheers and flower petals.
Before the Royal wedding luncheon, it was the time for the royal family photo session. Photos were snapped in the throne room with closely related persons from both families and with the bridal party as well. Patrick Lichfield, a member of royal family snapped the photos. As India Hicks remembers in a recent interview with ‘Tatler’, “Patrick Lichfield took the wedding photographs—a cousin-once-removed to the Queen, he was well practiced at being around the royals and came armed with a whistle so he could keep the wedding party in line," The marsala royal curtains and drapes with accents of golden looks elegant in the background of the family pictures.
The newly-wed couple showed on the balcony and waved to the thousand admirers dying to get a glimpse of them. ‘The Times’ reported this moment of princess Diana wedding in these words, "a rapturous cheer swept from the palace gates down the length of the Mall, the couple seemed taken aback by thousands of Union Jacks waving below."
Overall, 27 wedding cakes were made for Princess Diana Wedding. But the official wedding cake was created by the British naval armed forces. It was a five tiered cake ornamented with various accents. Flowers like rose, lily of the valley and orchids were placed on the top of it. A piece of the historical cake was skillfully preserved, using a huge amount of alcohol, even after 34 years of the event. It was still in edible condition. It was auctioned in 2015 for £920.
A landau was set with an interesting “just married” sign attached on it. Princess Diana clad an elegant pink dress, along with her Prince charming, rode to the waterloo station to get the train to her first honeymoon destination i.e. Hampshire. They were surrounded by so many spectators and lovers biding them adieu.