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Did You Know? – A Royal Wedding

Joann Wolwowicz

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They Royal Wedding has come and gone, and I don’t know about all of you, but I got up at 5:00 a.m. just to watch it. But

Princess Diana and her new husband Charles, Prince of Wales standing at the balcony at Buckingham Palace after their wedding ceremony.

today’s Did You Know is not about the most recent Royal Wedding that occurred. In fact, it’s about the one wedding that was called the “wedding of the century” that took place on July 29, 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Any guesses as to which wedding I might be referring to?

The wedding of Lady Diana Frances Spencer to Charles, Prince of Wales was clearly the wedding to beat with this current spectacle that had the whole world obsessed. Having been seeing each other for about six months, Charles proposed to Diana on February 3, 1981, at a dinner for two at Buckingham Palace. Roughly six months later, they were married by the Archbishop of Canterbury and twenty-five other clerics of other religions. The church service, however, was a traditional Church of England wedding service.

3,500 people were in attendance in the congregation of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Add that to the other 750 million people that watch the ceremony worldwide and the radio audience, a billion people were said to have been involved. Two million spectators lined the route of the procession from Clarence House, with 4,000 police and 2,200 military officers to manage the excited crowds.

Arriving in a glass coach, escorted by five military police, and dressed in a wedding dress with a 25-foot train, Diana was ready to meet her prince charming at the altar. Charles wore his full dress naval commander uniform. Lady Diana was twenty years old at the time, while Charles was thirty-two years old. After the hour and a half long ceremony, the couple went to Buckingham palace for a small dinner for 120 select individuals. Before the dinner however, as per tradition, the royal couple appeared on the balcony, starting the famous tradition of pleasing the crowd with a kiss.

This fairytale wedding was labeled as the most watched event on television. Millions of people witnessed Diana reverse the order of Charles’ two first names. Additionally, Diana refused to use the word obey in the phrase obey him; the phrase was consequently left out at the couple’s request.

Traditions that started at this particular Royal Wedding were carried on into this wedding thirty years later. Crowd favorites, such as the procession and the balcony kiss are now integrated elements that the world expects to see. However, with a new generation come new ideas. Other traditions, such as the riding in glass carriages to the church, were scraped in order to show the English people that the Royal Family can adjust to the modern world and the suffering economy.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but for those of us who managed to get up that early to see a part of history in the making, I was quite impressed with what I saw. It isn’t every day something like this happens, and since the last time a wedding of this magnitude was thirty years ago, I decided that it was a good chance to see what I missed last time.

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
Did You Know? – A Royal Wedding