Princess Diana wedding: Date, guests, engagement and honeymoon explained

PRINCESS Diana’s royal wedding to Prince Charles was one of the most iconic nuptials in recent history.

The glittering event took place in front of millions and was billed as the “wedding of the century” – but what happened on the day?

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When was Princess Diana's wedding to Prince Charles?

The wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles took place on Wednesday July 29, 1981.

They tied the knot at St Paul’s Cathedral, and the ceremony was a traditional Church of England wedding.

It was estimated to have been watched by a global TV audience of 750 million, and the UK had a national holiday on the day too.

Princess Diana’s iconic wedding dress is one of the most famous in the world, and was designed by close friend David Emanuel, who was a close confidante of Diana.

How long were the couple engaged?

The Prince of Wales first met his future bride when she was just 16, in November 1977.

He had been dating her older sister Lady Sarah, but it wasn’t until the summer of 1980, when Diana watched him play polo during a country weekend, that he took a serious interest in her as a bride.

Charles proposed to Lady Diana on February 6, 1981, but the news was kept secret for a few weeks.

The couple officially announced their engagement on February 24, 1981, and married months later.

Why did Charles and Diana marry at St Pauls?

Traditionally, royal weddings used to take place at Westminster Abbey, but Prince Charles and Diana chose to have theirs at St Paul's Cathedral.

This was because St Paul’s gave them space for more guests.

In total, the couple had around 3,500 guests in their congregation.

Speaking on Channel 5’s Charles and Di: The Truth Behind Their Wedding, Mary Robertson, who used to pay Diana to look after her child before she was a royal, said Diana had only been allowed personal 100 invitations.

Who were the wedding guests?

As Prince Charles is heir to the throne, the wedding was deemed to be a “state occasion”, and so 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.

Of course, the guest list included the couple’s immediate family, and for Charles these included:

  • The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, his parents
  • Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, his sister and brother-in-law
  • Prince Andrew, his brother
  • Prince Edward, his brother

For Diana, these included: 

  • The Earl and Countess Spencer, her father and stepmother
  • Lady Sarah and Mr Neil McCorquodale, her sister and brother-in-law
  • Lady Jane and Mr Robert Fellowes, her sister and brother-in-law
  • Viscount Althorp (Charles Spencer), her brother

Other invitees included the couple’s friends and Diana invited the staff of the nursery school in which she had worked to the wedding.

Celebrities Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe were among the entertainers who bagged an invite.

Where did Charles and Diana go on their honeymoon?

The royal couple spent most of their two-week honeymoon sailing the Mediterranean aboard the royal yacht Britannia, before heading to Scotland.

However, it wasn’t all romance, as Diana is said to have felt “oppressed” at the Queen’s Scottish estate Balmoral.

On the Netflix documentary The Story of Diana, which initially aired in 2017, historian Sally Bedell Smith reveals: “She seemed to be having a great time, but in fact, she couldn’t stand being at Balmoral.

“She felt oppressed and hemmed in.”

The couple put on a great show for photographers, however, and royal snapper Jane Fincher recalled how they acted “romantic” in shots.

While they were aboard their yacht, Princess Diana is said to have discovered that Prince Charles still carried items around in honour of his former flame, Camilla Parker Bowles.

Was the royal wedding shown on TV?

Prince Charles and Diana’s 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.

In total, the wedding was viewed in 74 countries by 750 million people.

We shared how Princess Diana was happy in ‘last’ interview but revealed Charles divorce was ‘hell’.

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