25 Fabulous Facts About Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s Wedding

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer married at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Wednesday, July 29, 1981. The ceremony was one of the decade’s biggest events—and for good reason. Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son Charles was (and still is, of course) first in line to the throne, which made the day a landmark moment in the life of the presumptive future King of England.

With the early days of Charles and Diana’s relationship now immortalized in Netflix’s The Crown, here are some more facts and figures behind one of the 20th century’s most famous relationships.

1. Prince Charles met Diana while he was dating her sister.

Charles was romantically involved with Diana’s elder sister, Sarah Spencer (now Lady Sarah McCorquodale) when he first met his future bride-to-be. His and Sarah’s relationship wasn’t quite as harmonious as it’s portrayed in The Crown; Sarah later said that she wouldn’t marry Charles whether “he were the dustman or the King of England.” Nevertheless, it’s through Sarah that Charles was first introduced to Diana while on a grouse hunt at Althorp House, the Spencer family’s ancestral home, in 1977. Diana was just 16 at the time—six years younger than Sarah, and more than 12 years younger than Charles.

2. It was love at first sight for Charles and Diana …

Charles seems to have taken an immediate shine to Diana, telling The Daily Telegraph in 1981 that he remembered thinking, “what a very jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old she was” after they first met. For her part, Diana reportedly told friends that she was destined to marry Charles after her first encounter with him—adding (not so prophetically) that “he’s the one man on the planet who’s not allowed to divorce me.” (Divorce laws for royals used to be a lot more stringent than they are today, and weren’t fully relaxed until 2002.)

3. … or maybe it wasn’t love at first sight for Charles and Diana.

Long after their relationship had broken down, Diana revisited her first impression of Charles—this time with the benefit of hindsight. In 1992, she told her biographer Andrew Morton that her actual first thought after meeting the future king was, “God, what a sad man.” Ouch.

4. It took a while for things to get going between Charles and Diana.

No matter what their first impressions were, it took a long time for Charles and Diana to become a couple. It wasn’t until 1980, shortly before Diana’s 19th birthday, that the couple finally got together. In the three years in between, Charles’s relationship with Sarah Spencer fizzled out, after which he reportedly proposed to Amanda Knatchbull, the granddaughter of Earl Mountbatten, his mentor. Knatchbull turned him down.

At the same time, rumors began swirling that Charles was still romantically involved with his long-term sweetheart Camilla Shand, despite her having married Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973. (Camilla is now the Duchess of Cornwall, Charles’s second wife. The couple tied the knot in 2005.)

Charles had,

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How to watch Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding ceremony in full

Nearly 40 years after Prince Charles and Princess Diana tied the knot, their wedding day remains one of the most talked about ceremonies of all-time.



a man wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone


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Most recently, the couple’s courtship has been memorialised in the latest season of The Crown, which charts pivotal moments in their relationship, from their first meeting to the day they said, “I do”.

Earlier this year, teaser trailers for the fourth season gave viewers a glimpse of actor Emma Corrin wearing a near-exact replica of Princess Diana’s wedding gown, but as far as portraying the actual event, The Crown showed little else of the ceremony.

If you, like so many others, found yourself cheated out of a royal wedding repeat, all is not lost as you can still watch real footage from Charles and Diana’s ceremony.

From when it happened, to why it wasn’t shown in The Crown and how to watch the wedding day in full, here is everything you need to know.

When and where did Charles and Diana get married?

Charles and Diana got married with a traditional Church of England wedding service on 29 July 1981 at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Alan Webster, presided at the service, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, conducted the marriage.



a group of people wearing costumes: AFP via Getty Images


© Provided by The Independent
AFP via Getty Images

The wedding took place just five months after their engagement was officially announced. Diana claimed to have only seen Charles 13 times between the start of their relationship and their wedding day.

Was the wedding broadcast on TV at the time?

The couple’s ceremony was shown on BBC and ITV. According to the BBC, the ceremony was watched by a global audience of 750 million people in 74 countries, with 28.4 million tuning in from the UK alone.

The BBC pulled out all the stops to ensure the widest possible audience on the day. Television coverage of the 11am ceremony began at 7.45am, presented by Angela Rippon and Peter Woods. Commentary on the carriage processions and marriage service was given by Tom Fleming and simultaneous coverage on BBC Two provided live subtitles for hearing impaired viewers.



a man standing next to a woman: AFP via Getty Images


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AFP via Getty Images

The couple’s ceremony remains the most watched royal wedding of all time, with 24 million Brits tuning in to watch Prince William marry Kate Middleton in 2011 and 18 million watching Prince Harry wed Meghan Markle in 2018.

The nuptials also drew crowds of about 600,000 to the streets surrounding St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Can you still watch footage of the ceremony?

Yes. While the BBC has collated its coverage of the day into a 3.5 minute-long film which can be viewed here, it is possible to watch the entire proceedings in full.

In 2017, the Associated Press (AP) released newly restored footage of Charles and Diana’s wedding day which has since been posted on YouTube in 4K.

The 25 minutes of video features original commentary and was

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Emma Corrin reveals why Charles and Diana’s wedding wasn’t recreated on ‘The Crown’

Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding was skipped, not because of budgetary concerns

Royal fans had been waiting to witness the enchanting royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer unfold on the new season of The Crown.

However, much to their dismay, the grand nuptials were wrapped up by the makers within minutes, barely showing a glimpse of the Prince and Princess of Wales exchanging their vows and saying ‘I do.’

The reason for the rushed depiction of the ceremony has now been revealed by Emma Corrin, who plays Diana on the show

She told Hollywood Reporter that the entire wedding was skipped, not because of budgetary concerns, but because the entire world had already watched the actual wedding.

“We never recreate things just for the sake of recreating them. I think if we do recreate a scene—like the engagement scene, for instance, when they do the announcement—it has to be because it’s linked to something that the characters are going through,” she said.

“It has to be part of the story. It has to further the plot, basically. The wedding scene, you can YouTube it and you could be watching it in 10 seconds, so I don’t think there’d be any point in us recreating it,” she added.

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Princess Diana & Prince Charles’ Wedding Day Body Language Was So Disconnected

When Lady Diana tied the knot with Prince Charles on July 29, 1981, it seemed like the stuff of fantasies — the plot of a magical Netflix romance about a nanny (and technically a commoner) who becomes royalty overnight. But Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding day body language tells a different story. Over the years, more and more details have surfaced that suggest the couple hardly lived happily ever after once they said “I do” — and the subtleties in their physical postures and gestures seem to suggest that their bond was already a tad iffy.

Odds are you’ve seen at least a couple of photos from their history-making big day — after all, the ceremony remains the most-watched royal wedding of all time (yes, even surpassing the audience for Harry and Meghan’s nuptials). Some standout details: Diana’s trend-setting gown featured 10,000 pearls and a 25-foot train, they had 27 wedding cakes and their official cake was 5 feet tall, and an estimated 650,000 people lined the route from Clarence House just to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.

While the whole affair was nothing short of breathtaking, some troubling tidbits later emerged that lend more insight into what was going on behind the scenes. For one, when the couple was asked whether or not they were in love during their official engagement interview, Diana responded “of course,” but Charles infamously added, “whatever love means” — a quip that Diana later said “traumatized” her in the documentary Diana: In Her Own Words. What’s more, Penny Thornton — Diana’s astrologer — revealed in the documentary The Diana Interview: Revenge of the Princess that Charles reportedly told his fiancée he didn’t love her the day they say “I do,” which caused her to question whether she wanted to go through with the wedding. Royal biographer Andrew Morton also claimed that Diana considered calling it off due to his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles (this is alluded to in The Crown after Diana finds the “Fred” and “Gladys” bracelets).

So, does their body language offer any hints about these issues? According to Traci Brown, body language expert and author of Persuasion Point: Body Language and Speech for Influence, there’s a whole lot to glean from the photographs on their big day.

Leaning In

Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

In this shot, Diana and Charles are clearly going in for a kiss — but notice how her left arm is hanging at her side, rather than wrapped around him? That one tiny detail is telling, according to Brown.

“It seems like they’re really focused on each other — but that’s not indicative of closeness,” she explains.

BTW, fun fact: Charles reportedly forgot to kiss Diana at the end of their ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Reaching Out

Tim Graham / Gety Images

As you can see, Charles is reaching for Diana’s hand in this pic. But Diana hardly notices the gesture.

“She’s not focused on him in this moment,”

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Princess Diana Rode a Bike Around Clarence House the Night Before Her and Prince Charles’ Royal Wedding

Princess Diana became an official member of the British royal family not long after her 20th birthday. A lot happened in the lead up to her and Prince Charles’ royal wedding.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles at their royal wedding
Princess Diana and Prince Charles at their royal wedding | Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Charles cried the night before wondering if he could love two women — Diana and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall — at the same time. Meanwhile, Diana, who also had her own doubts about the marriage, spent her final hours as a commoner riding a bike at Clarence House. 

Millions watched Princess Diana and Prince Charles get married 

On July 29, 1981, Charles and Diana married in what would quickly become known as the royal wedding of the century. Those who didn’t attend the nuptials at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England, watched the ceremony live on TV. 

An estimated 750 million people around the world watched Diana walk down the aisle in what would become one of her most iconic fashion moments. Decades and many royal weddings later, it’s still the most-watched royal wedding ever. 

Princess Diana rode a bike at Clarence House before her wedding

On her last night before marrying Charles, first in the royal family’s line of succession, Diana had some fun. Staying at the royal residence, Clarence House, Diana wandered the halls looking for company. 

Author Tina Brown wrote about it in her biography The Diana Chronicles, according to Vanity Fair. She spoke to the Queen Mother’s page William Tallon, who told her Diana spent some of the night with him. 

Princess Diana sits on the steps of Highgrove wi
Princess Diana at Highgrove | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

RELATED: The Subtle Way Prince Charles Brought Camilla on His Honeymoon with Princess Diana

“She seemed at such a loose end that Tallon invited her into his office for a chat with himself and an equerry,” Brown wrote in her book. “He remembers he asked her, ‘Well so shall we all have a drink?’ And the equerry ‘poured me a stiff one, and an orange juice for Lady Diana and she was very happy.’”

“Then she saw my bicycle standing against a wall and she got on it and started to ride round and round, ringing the bell and singing, ‘I’m going to marry the Prince of Wales tomorrow.’ Ring ring. ‘I’m going to marry the Prince of Wales tomorrow!’ Ring, ring.”

“I can hear that bicycle ringing now,” Tallon said. “She was just a child, you know, just a little girl.”

RELATED: Princess Diana’s Hopes About Marriage to Prince Charles Were ‘Slashed by Day 2’

Princess Diana roller-skated around Kensington Palace on ‘The Crown’

In The Crown Season 4, there’s a scene of a young Diana (Emma Corrin) rollerskate through Kensington Palace while listening to Duran Duran. Asked by Vogue to confirm it, The Crown producer Oona O’Beirn, said it did indeed happen.  

“It’s true!” she said, before adding that they’d wanted to include scenes of Diana riding a bike around the night before her royal wedding.

Emma Corrin rollerskates as Princess Diana in 'The Crown' Season 4
Emma
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Prince Charles Exploited Diana’s Love of Fashion to Make Her Seem ‘Frivolous,’ New Book Claims



Diana, Princess of Wales wearing a suit and tie: Georges De Keerle/Getty From left: Princess Diana and Prince Charles in 1987


© Provided by People
Georges De Keerle/Getty From left: Princess Diana and Prince Charles in 1987

Princess Diana delighted in fashion in a way that no royal has since. But her husband Prince Charles used her love of style to undermine her, a new book about royal fashion claims.

“The attention Diana received was surprising at first to the royal family, and then a source of resentment,” Elizabeth Holmes, author of HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style, which published on Tuesday, tells PEOPLE. “For Charles, you can tell in his public remarks, fashion is one of the things he sought to use against her. [He used Diana’s] interest in fashion, and the interest in her fashion, to paint her as shallow or frivolous.”

“What an outdated and unfortunate line of critique, especially because these women use their clothing so savvily,” she continues. “Learning that, and learning that her clothes were used against her, was really sad to me.”

Holmes, who spent more than 10 years as a business and fashion journalist for The Wall Street Journal, gained a massive following for her Instagram series, “So Many Thoughts,” in which she explored royal fashion. After interviewing a number of fashion experts and designers, some of whom have worked intimately with the royal family, Holmes expanded her analysis of the “power” of royal fashion to create HRH, a deep dive into the branding and fashion journeys of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.



Diana, Princess of Wales wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images Princess Diana and Prince Charles


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Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images Princess Diana and Prince Charles



text: queen elizabeth, megan markle, kate middleton, princess diana


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queen elizabeth, megan markle, kate middleton, princess diana

While Holmes revels in all royal fashion, she says that Diana’s outfits are some of her favorites. The Princess of Wales wasn’t afraid to embrace trends — or to put her emotions on display, Holmes explains.

“What I came to really understand and appreciate was the ways in which she delighted in fashion, and introduced emotion into the equation,” says Holmes. “She had these very distinct phases in her dressing and they track with the tumultuous personal life she was experiencing.”

Tumultuous it was. Diana was only 20 years old when she married the 32-year-old Prince of Wales in 1981. From the beginning, their relationship was fraught with tension. The young princess struggled to manage both the public scrutiny and the expectations of royal life (she suffered from an eating disorder and depression). In 1991, the royal couple, who share sons Prince William, now 38, and Prince Harry, now 36, separated. Three years later, Charles admitted he’d committed adultery during his marriage to Diana during a television interview. (Prince Charles resumed a relationship with his ex-girlfriend (and current wife) Camilla Parker-Bowles.) Their divorce was finalized in August 1996, and Diana, who was already devoting herself to humanitarian causes during their separation, honed in on her work to help lift up others. Tragically, she died just a year

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Prince Charles Allegedly Told Princess Diana He Didn’t Love Her The Night Before Their Wedding

Photo credit: Anwar Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anwar Hussein – Getty Images

From Delish

  • Prince Charles reportedly told Princess Diana he didn’t love her right before they tied the knot in July 1981.

  • Charles “didn’t want to go into the wedding on a false premise,” Diana’s friend Penny Thornton said.

  • Diana allegedly told Thornton that she considered not attending the wedding after the “devastating” revelation.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s grand royal wedding on July 29, 1981 seemed the stuff of fantasy—but according to one of Diana’s friends, the reality was far from picture perfect. Penny Thornton, an astrologer Diana sought advice from, made a startling revelation in new ITV documentary The Diana Interview: Revenge of the Princess, as People reports: Charles reportedly told his future bride he didn’t love her the day before they tied the knot.

“One of the most shocking things that Diana told me was that the night before the wedding Charles told her that he didn’t love her,” Thornton said in the documentary, which centers on Diana’s bombshell 1995 interview with the BBC after her separation from Charles. “I think Charles didn’t want to go into the wedding on a false premise. He wanted to square it with her and it was devastating for Diana.”

The wedding almost didn’t go ahead, Thornton shared: “She didn’t want to go through with the wedding at that point, she thought about not attending the wedding,” she said.

Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Graham – Getty Images

According to royal biographer Ingrid Seward, Charles felt “pushed” into marrying Diana by his father, Prince Philip. “He told some of his friends that he felt pressurized into marrying Diana because Philip said, ‘You’ve either got to marry her or let her go. You can’t string a … young girl [along]. She’s only 19. You can’t string her along,'” Seward told Us Weekly. “Charles…he was frightened of his father and he probably thought, ‘Well, OK. I’ll marry her if that’s what you want me to do.'”

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Prince Charles’ secret note to Princess Diana before their wedding

prince charles left diana a secret note the night before their wedding

Princess Diana ArchiveGetty Images

The Crown season four has hit our screens, and the huge storyline which it centres around is of course that of the relationship between Princess Diana and Prince Charles. As the show follows the couple from their first meeting, to their engagement, to their wedding, we see their relationship develop – though Charles and Diana’s wedding isn’t actually shown in full.

The Crown depicts both Charles and Diana seemingly having doubts before their wedding, with Charles shown crying in one scene with the Queen, and Diana separately saying that the wedding can’t go ahead, after her suspicions of Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles are raised.

However, it’s been revealed that Prince Charles reportedly sent Diana a sweet note the night before their wedding – although he is thought to have gifted Camilla a bracelet the night before his wedding to Diana, too.

Royal biographer Penny Junor wrote in her book on Camilla: “The night before the wedding, which Diana spent at Clarence House with her sister Jane, he [Charles] sent her a note, along with a signet ring that bore the Prince of Wales feathers.” The ring is in fact shown in The Crown, though Charles presents it to Diana in person.

the crown viewers are shocked princess diana and camilla went for lunch
Charles and Diana in The Crown

Netflix

Charles’ note to Diana reportedly read: “I’m so proud of you and when you come up I’ll be there at the altar for you tomorrow. Just look ’em in the eye and knock ’em dead,” according to the Express.

However, it’s been confirmed that Charles also gave Camilla a bracelet the night before his wedding to Diana, engraved with the initials G and F. In The Crown, the G supposedly stands for Gladys (thought to be his nickname for Camilla) and the F for Fred, Camilla’s nickname for the Prince of Wales.

Still, The Crown is said to be accurate in its portrayal of Diana, according to her former butler.

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Princess Diana’s wedding shoes featured a secret message for Prince Charles

Princess Diana’s wedding shoes featured more than 500 sequins, 100 pearls and a message for Charles 

Princess Diana started off her unpredictable royal journey with a fancy wedding wedding to Prince Charles.

However, there are some things about the grand nuptials that many people are still unaware of.

For instance, the fact that Diana had a secret message for Charles engraved on the soles of her wedding shoes is something that’s not common knowledge.

Diana, who was 5ft 10, exactly the same height as Charles, decided to don low-heeled shoes so that she would not look taller than her groom on the big day.

The pair was designed by celebrity shoemaker Clive Shilton, complete with satin, lace and more than 500 sequins and 100 pearls.

On the soles of the shoes, Diana had the letters C and D painted with a small heart in between to symbolise her love for Charles. 

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Princess Diana felt ‘like a lamb to the slaughter’ seeing Camilla attend her and Charles’ wedding

Camilla Parker’s presence at Princess Dianas royal wedding with Charles made her feel uncomfortable

Princess Diana was instantly crushed when she saw her husband Charles former sweetheart Camilla Parker attend their royal wedding.

From what it seems, Camilla’s presence was intentional and Charles did this to make his bride ‘feel uneasy.’

Diana was well aware of Charles secret relationship with Diana even before she said her vows.

Just days before her fairytale wedding, Diana found a bracelet engraved with letters G and F, meaning Gladys and Fred – the nicknames Charles and Camilla had for each other, in Charles’s private secretary Michael Colborne’s office.

Henceforth, when Diana’s gaze fell on Camilla looking at her from the crowds at the ceremony, she became uncomfortable.

Speaking on the Channel 5 documentary Charles and Camilla: King and Queen in Waiting, royal expert Jenny Bond said, “Diana told me much later in one of our private conversations that she had felt like a lamb to the slaughter as she walked up the aisle, which was very sad.

“I think she knew that things weren’t quite right, and when she saw Camilla in the congregation, was immediately uneasy about it,” he added.

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