FRIDAY, JULY 29: It’s been three decades since the world witnessed the “Wedding of the Century.” On this day in 1981, Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles of Wales. An estimated 600,000 people lined London’s streets to get a view of the royal couple on the big day, and approximately 750 million more tuned into the wedding ceremony on their televisions. (View a slideshow of photos from the Washington Post.) The “wedding of the century” may not compare in numbers to the estimated 3 billion watchers of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 wedding—but those were the days before international Internet streaming and widespread access to advanced technology.
Diana and Charles dated for just six months before their engagement in February of 1981. (Wikipedia has details.) Diana’s ring, which consisted of 14 diamonds and a blue sapphire, was recently given to Kate Middleton by Prince William as an engagement ring.
The 3,500 wedding guests at St. Paul’s Cathedral that day witnessed a traditional Church of England service, and Diana approached the altar with a difficult 25 feet of train behind her and 10,000 pearls on her dress. (Read more from the BBC.) The couple’s reception guests dined on 27 wedding cakes.