A large wedding by any standard, 3,500 attendees fit into St. Paul’s Cathedral that day, while a televised home audience watched on around the world. The couple had a beautiful, traditional ceremony and there were even events held around the Commonwealth so everyone could join in on the romantic festivities.
Although King Charles III and Princess Diana’s wedding appeared very traditional, there were in fact quite a few aspects that either broke from tradition or set new records at the time. Notably, Diana was the first bride of a British heir without a royal title in over 300 years.
The chosen location, St. Paul’s Cathedral, also broke from tradition, as a royal wedding hadn’t taken place there since 1501. Westminster Abbey had been the site for royal weddings in the last few centuries but since it could only host 2,200 guests, Charles and Diana opted for the much larger St. Paul’s Cathedral, which had room for 3,500 people.
Furthermore, the couple’s vows went against tradition when they omitted the word “obey.” The omission was growing in popularity for weddings at the time but nevertheless, it was unprecedented for a royal wedding. The move made international headlines and was apparently Diana’s idea, while Charles fully supported her. In total, it’s believed that around 750 million people across 74 countries tuned in to the royal wedding around the world, while 600,000 people lined the streets of London. The BBC described this as “marking a highpoint in the popularity of the royal family.” However, Charles and Diana’s ceremony wasn’t the first one to be broadcast live on TV.
The wedding looked picture perfect and a large part of that came from the fact that Diana was a beaming bride who truly looked like a princess. Her iconic wedding dress, which was designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel, also set a record for having the longest train, which measured 25 feet, of any royal wedding dress. David told Today just this year that it was intentionally designed to be dramatic in order to make Diana “look like a fairytale princess.” The dress went on to influence wedding gown trends in the 1980s.
Clearly establishing a close relationship with the designers, who also designed other garments for Diana, the design duo even surprised the princess on her big day by revealing they’d sewn a diamond-studded horseshoe into the waistband of her gown for good luck. David revealed to Hello! last year:
“We only told her on the wedding day. She didn’t know about the horseshoe for good luck, she was very touched. She was traditional.”
For such a large wedding, there needed to be enough cake to celebrate, and the big day certainly didn’t disappoint. A total of 27 cakes were made, including a duplicate of the 5-foot-tall main cake in case an accident were to occur. Thirty-three years after the wedding, one slice of the cake sold at auction for around $1,375, still in the original box that it was given to guests in.
Charles and Diana’s wedding might have been perfect but a fairytale wedding doesn’t come without a hefty price tag, especially one for which a huge amount of security had to be taken into account. According to Business Insider, the wedding cost a whopping $48 million, which comes to $110 million when accounting for inflation
Just a few short years after the beautiful spectacle of a wedding, Princess Diana gave birth to Prince William in June of 1982. Prince Harry was born two years later, in September of 1984.
Raising her two sons, the family resided in apartments eight and nine in Kensington Palace in London. According to Hello Magazine, Diana hired Dudley Poplak, who turned three floors of the palace into a gorgeous family home. When they weren’t residing at the palace, the family would escape to Highgrove House. Sadly, the couple divorced in August of 1996. After divorcing, Diana was still thought of as a part of the family. According to Express, Diana was “regarded as a member of the Royal Family.” However, the divorce did cause major problems within Diana’s own family.
King Charles III and Diana origianlly seperated in 1992. After Diana and Charles divorced in 1996, eventually the Princess moved on. This was another hiccup in the mother-daughter relationship.
Burrell also told the Mirror that conversations between Diana and her mother were less than ideal, “It was a hate-filled personal attack on the men and their religious beliefs.”
While in court the butler was forced to open up and said “She said that she was messing around with ‘effing Muslim men’ and she was disgraceful and said some very nasty things.”
After this phone call, he said Diana vowed to never speak to her mom again. “How prophetic and sad those words were – because she didn’t. It is something her mother will have to live with for the rest of her life,” Burrell said.
British culture has been incredibly impacted by the work Diana did when she was still alive, and William and Harry have made sure to never let their mother’s contributions go unnoticed or be forgotten. “We will do everything we can to make sure she’s never forgotten, and carry on all of the special gifts and such that she had and that she portrayed when she was alive,” Harry said. “I hope that a lot of my mother’s talents are shown in the work that I do.”
Since passing away in 1997, Diana has remained at the forefront all over the world. The late princess was also honored in other ways to coincide with what would have been her milestone 60th birthday in July 2021. Her iconic wedding dress, designed by David and Elizabeth Emmanuel, was put on display at Kensington Palace, as per BBC News. The dress was only one part of a larger exhibition featuring royal heirlooms and artifacts but had been given prominence as the exhibition’s central piece.
Aside from her statue, Princess Diana also had an exhibit in 2021 dedicated to her and her original wedding dress. According to news obtained by Vanity Fair, the exhibition included many more iconic pieces of fashion and even some that have never been open to the public before.
While Diana’s loved ones have continued to share her message and legacy with the world, her influence has also left its mark on pop culture. Even though it’s been 25 years since Diana’s tragic passing, her memory is ever present and will surely continue to inspire others for many years to come.