The bride Lady Diana Frances Spencer was born on 1 July 1961 at Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk. She was the fourth of five children of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, later 8th Earl Spencer (1924–1992), and Frances Spencer, Viscountess Althorp (1936–2004).Embed from Getty Images
The Spencer family had been close with the British royal family for several generations. Diana’s grandmothers, Cynthia Spencer, Countess Spencer and Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy, had served as ladies-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.Embed from Getty Images
Children’s nanny, Lady Diana Spencer, with two of her charges, before she married Prince Charles and became the Princess of Wales.Embed from Getty Images
Diana before her marriage outside her flat in London.
Charles, Prince of Wales, the heir apparent to the British throne as the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, had known Lady Diana Spencer for several years. They first met in 1977 while Charles was dating her elder sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale.
The Prince took serious interest in Lady Diana as a potential bride in 1980 when they were guests at a country weekend, where she watched him play polo.Embed from Getty Images
Prince Charles and girlfriend Lady Diana Spencer leaving a Polo match in Charles’ Aston Martin sports car.Embed from Getty Images
Engagement of Lady Diana Spencer and The Prince of Wales
Buckingham Palace announced the official engagement of The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer on 24 February 1981 and the couple gave an exclusive interview.Embed from Getty Images
During the public announcement of the engagement, Lady Diana wore a “cobalt blue skirt suit” by the British label Cojana.Embed from Getty Images
Lady Diana selected an elegant, large £30,000 engagement ring that consisted of 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-carat white gold. The ring was made by the Crown jewellers Garrard.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer
The wedding of Prince Charles (32) and Lady Diana Spencer (20) took place on Wednesday 29 July 1981 at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, United Kingdom.
Charles and Diana selected St Paul’s over Westminster Abbey, the traditional site of royal weddings, because St. Paul’s offered more seating and permitted a longer procession through London.Embed from Getty Images
Charles, Prince of Wales and his brother Prince Andrew make their way by coach to St Paul’s Cathedral.
The Queen and the royal family were taken to the cathedral in eight carriages. The Prince of Wales in the gold-encrusted coach which was later used following the ceremony to take the couple back to Buckingham Palace.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.Embed from Getty Images
Princess Anne and Princess Margaret.
Lady Diana arrived at the cathedral in the Glass Coach with her father, John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer; she was escorted by six mounted Metropolitan Police officers.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Diana, Princess of Wales enters St. Paul’s Cathedral on the hand of her father, Earl Spencer.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
The ceremony was a traditional Church of England wedding service. The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral Alan Webster presided at the service, and the Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie conducted the marriage.Embed from Getty Images
In keeping with tradition, the couple’s wedding rings were crafted from Welsh gold from the Clogau St David’s mine in Bontddu. The tradition of using Welsh gold within the wedding rings of the Royal Family dates back to 1923.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Diana’s wedding dress was made of ivory silk taffeta, decorated with lace, hand embroidery, sequins, and 10,000 pearls. It was designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel and had a 25-foot (7.6 m) train of ivory taffeta and antique lace.Embed from Getty Images
The dress was designed according to Diana’s wishes who wanted it to have the longest train in the royal wedding history.Embed from Getty Images
Lady Diana wore The Spencer Tiara, her family’s heirloom tiara, over an ivory silk tulle veil. She wore a pair of low-heeled shoes “with C and D initials hand-painted on her arches”.Embed from Getty Images
For the customary bridal themes of “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”, Diana’s wedding dress had an antique lace “made with a fabric spun at a British silk farm” (the “old”), the Spencer family tiara and her mother’s earrings (the “borrowed”), and a blue bow sewn into the waistband (the “blue”).Embed from Getty Images
Upon marriage Lady Diana automatically acquired the title of Princess of Wales.Embed from Getty Images
Per the Queen’s orders, two similar bouquets were prepared for the bride by David Longman which contained “gardenias, stephanotis, odontolglossum orchid, lily of the valley, Earl Mountbatten roses, freesia, veronica, ivy, myrtle and trasdescantiaEmbed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Charles wore his full dress naval commander uniform. He also wore stars of the orders of the Garter, Thistle and Bath, the Queen’s silver jubilee medal, and “the royal cipher of the Prince of Wales in gold on epaulettes on both shoulders.” He carried a “full dress sword tassled in gold.”Embed from Getty Images
Their marriage was widely billed as a “fairytale wedding” and the “wedding of the century”. It was watched by an estimated global TV audience of 750 million peopleEmbed from Getty Images
Charles, Prince of Wales, and his wife, Princess Diana, wave to the crowds during the royal procession.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
After the ceremony, the couple made the traditional appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace and delighted the crowd when they kissed, initiating the tradition of kissing the bride on the balcony.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Formal portraits of the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer were taken at Buckingham Palace.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Children and Divorce
On 21 June 1982, the Princess gave birth to the couple’s first son, Prince William. A second son, Prince Harry, was born on 15 September 1984.Embed from Getty Images
Princess Diana, Prince Charles and their sons Prince Harry (left) and William leaving Italy on board the royal yacht Brittania after a tour, April 1985.Embed from Getty Images
Prince Charles, Princess Diana and their sons Prince William and Prince Harry arrive at Eton College for William’s first day of school on September 1995.
The Prince and Princess of Wales divorced was finalised on 28 August 1996.Embed from Getty Images
Official portrait of the Royal family on the day of Prince William’s confirmation on March 9th, 1997. Featured in the photo are William, Prince Harry, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Queen, King Constantine, Lady Susan Hussey, Princess Alexandra, the Duchess of Westminster and Lord Romsey.
On 31 August 1997, Diana died in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris while the driver was fleeing the paparazzi.
- ROYAL BRIDE: PRINCESS BEATRICE OF YORK.
- ROYAL BRIDE: QUEEN ELIZABETH II.
- ROYAL BRIDE: PRINCESS EUGENIE OF YORK.
- ROYAL BRIDE: ZARA TINDALL.
- ROYAL BRIDE: LADY SARAH CHATTO.
- ROYAL BRIDE: LADY HELEN TAYLOR.
- ROYAL BRIDE: LADY ALEXANDRA KNATCHBULL.
- ROYAL BRIDE: KATHERINE, DUCHESS OF KENT.