THE whole nation watched on in delight as Prince Charles wedded Lady Diana Spencer.
Their marriage – which would be entering its 40th year this July 29, 2021 – was widely billed as the “wedding of the century” and watched by an astonishing 750 million people.
When did Prince Charles and Lady Diana get married?
The wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer took place on July 29, 1981 at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Their marriage prompted a day of celebration, with street parties held across the UK and events taking place across the Commonwealth to mark the occasion.
Princess Diana’s iconic wedding dress is one of the most famous in the world, and was designed by Di’s close friend David Emanuel.
Diana also selected a large engagement ring that consisted of 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire, set in 18-carat white gold.
The bride-to-be made her way up the altar of the Cathedral arm-in-arm with her dad, John, the 8th Earl Spencer before a congregation of 3,500 guests.
Prince Andrew and Prince Edward acted as Charles’ supporters while Princess Margaret’s 17-year-old daughter, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, and designer India Hicks were among Diana’s five bridesmaids.
The wedding was watched by 28.4 million British TV viewers on BBC and ITV.
In addition to this, 600,000 royal fans lined the streets of London.
Who was in attendance at their wedding?
As Prince Charles is heir to the throne, the wedding was considered to be a “state occasion” – meaning many of the invitations were for foreign heads of state.
These included the King and Queen of the Belgians, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway, Margaret Thatcher, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the time, and Nancy Reagan, the then-First Lady of the United States.
The guest list also included the couple’s immediate family.
On Charles’ side, this included his parents, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as siblings Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
For Diana, this included the Earl and Countess Spencer, her father and stepmother, as well as her sisters Lady Sarah, Lady Jane and brother Viscount Althorp.
Diana also invited the staff of the nursery school in which she had worked to the wedding.
And celebrities including Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe also managed to bag an invite.
Why did their marriage unravel?
The couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996 after fifteen years of marriage.
Things took a downturn after Harry’s birth in September 1984, when the couple were said to be sleeping in separate bedrooms.
In 1986, they were reportedly taking separate holidays.
Charles is alleged to have told his friends “how awful incompatibility is”, and by mid-1986, he is claimed to have rekindled his affair with Camilla.
According to royal biographers, the pair had a very fractious relationship.
In Sally Bedell Smith’s book, Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, she claimed there was “nothing cozy or mutually supportive about their relationship”.