It was the “wedding of the century”, applauded by two million people in London and watched by 750 million viewers around the world. The wedding of Prince Charles, 33, and Diana Spencer, 20, had to meet the fantasy of the princely wedding in every way, with a meringue dress, 3,500 handpicked guests, and greetings to the crowd from a golden coach. Everything in the ceremony of July 29, 1981, was precise. This will not prevent unforeseen events, hiccups and slippages.
A dress to retouch
With its puffed sleeves, mother-of-pearl and 16th-century lace, Diana’s dress, signed by the designers, the Welshman David Emanuel and his ex-wife Elizabeth, has been one of the most copied in the world. But, and we know it less, also one of the most retouched, as recounted in Sunday Express. No doubt nervous, the future Princess of Wales had indeed lost weight, 14 centimeters in waist size in a few weeks, during which the creators have multiplied the needle strokes. So much so that it was necessary to proceed to the last seams on the bustier even as Diana was wearing it on the day of the ceremony.
Suddenly, it is the drama: just before entering Saint Paul’s Cathedral, in London, Lady Diana spills part of her perfume bottle, A few flowers from Houbigant Paris, when she just wanted to sprinkle them on her wrists. An awkwardness revealed by Barbara Daily, who made her up that day, to the magazine People. The latter advises him to walk into the nave with one hand elegantly placed on the fabric to hide it. In the photos of the wedding, it is not to avoid stepping on her skirt that Lady Diana grabs the fabric. But well to hide a stain that would have made… stain (sorry) on television.
Mixed first names
Charles and Diana’s exchange of vows is historic, for two reasons. First, because the couple decides that Diana will not swear “obedience” to her husband, as was the custom until now. But also, because the Princess of Wales makes a (small) mistake, by reversing the order of the (many) first names of her fiancé, as recounted in Sunday Express. Because it would have been necessary to say “Charles Philip Arthur George, I take you for husband” and not “Philip Charles Arthur George”. Which will give Prince Andrew the opportunity to address this little joke to the bride: “Actually, you married my father.”
The forgotten kiss
Commoners or crowned heads, all respect this step: once declared husband and wife, the first thing couples do is to exchange a kiss. All except Diana and Charles. Indeed cthe last one would have simply forgotten, as recounted in Sunday Express. Before catching up a few hours later on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, thus ushering in a tradition since followed by his brother Andrew and his son William (but not by Harry, who married at Windsor Palace).
Did you have to be crazy to refuse to attend the “wedding of the century”? No, rather fear a serious political blunder. Among the prestigious guests who pretended to “have a swimming pool” on that day, we find King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. As revealed by New York Times, they would indeed have been advised not to attend Charles and Diana’s wedding, who had planned to make a stopover, during their honeymoon in the territory of Gibraltar, which was disputed at the time between England and Spain. Other absences explained on the show website History Extra, from the BBC: Greek President Konstantinos Karamanlis, outraged that Constantine II of Greece, monarch in exile and friend of the newlywed, had been invited as “King of Helen”. As well as Irish President Patrick Hillery, whose presence would have been considered delicate in the midst of the North Irish conflict. So many diplomatic incidents whose consequences could have been much more serious than a stain on a retouched dress. Note that Camilla Parker-Bowles, on the other hand, was among the guests.