The WeddingThe wedding, which took place on July 29, 1981 was often referred to as a "fairytale wedding" and the "wedding of the century". The United Kingdom had a national holiday on the day to mark the event.
Over half a million people lined the streets of London and Hyde Park to watch the carriage procession and pre-wedding fireworks set to Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks, while an estimated 750 million people worldwide watched a live broadcast of the wedding itself.
The Wedding Ceremony
The wedding ceremony took place in St. Paul's Cathedral, London. It was chosen instead of the usual choice of Westminster Abbey for royal weddings due to the greater capacity of St Paul's.
After arriving at the Cathedral in a glass coach, Diana and her father, Earl Spencer, began the three-and-a-half minute walk down the red-carpeted aisle accompanied by Jeremiah Clarke’s The Prince of Denmark’s March, a piece that was chosen by Prince Charles.
The service was a traditional Church of England wedding service, conducted by the Most Reverend Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Very Reverend Alan Webster, the Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral.
During the exchange of vows at the altar, the couple each fluffed their lines once. Diana accidentally reversed the order of Charles's first two names, saying Philip Charles Arthur George instead. Charles endowed Diana with all her worldly goods instead of his. He also forgot to kiss his new wife. By prior agreement of the couple, Diana did not promise to obey Charles during the vows, which raised some eyebrows.
New Zealander Kiri Te Kanawa, the Royal Opera's soprano superstar, sang an anthem by Handel, accompanied by 95 musicians selected from three orchestras.
As Prince Charles and Princess Diana emerged from the cathedral, the crowds outside cheered deafeningly. A sea of Union Jacks, streamers, balloons and festive hats accompanied the royal couple on their journey to Buckingham Palace by open Landau, cheered on by millions of well-wishers who had lined the streets of London.
Charles and Diana exchanged rings made of a nugget of gold from the Clogau mine in Wales, the traditional supplier of gold for royal wedding rings.
The Guest List
The wedding ceremony was attended by almost 3,500 guests, including American First Lady Nancy Reagan, the King and Queen of Sweden, and Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands. Spanish king, Juan Carlos, chose not to attend in protest against the decision that the honeymoon cruise aboard the royal yacht Britannia would begin in Gibraltar, a British colony long claimed by Spain. Over a dozen presidents, fifteen Commonwealth heads-of-state, and nine members of reigning royal families were at the wedding.
Nancy Reagan attended the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana in her husband's absence in 1981 and also received an invite to Prince Andrew's 1986 wedding to Sarah Ferguson - despite that not being a state occasion