40 years since the “wedding of the century” between Charles and Diana
Tuesday – 17 Dhul-Hijjah 1442 AH – 27 July 2021 AD Issue No. [
Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s 1981 wedding drew millions of people around the world to watch it (Getty Images)
London: «Middle East»
On July 29, 1981, in front of gleeful crowds in London and 750 million viewers around the world, Prince Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, married shy young Diana Spencer.
At 32 and after years of romantic adventures, the prince is able to produce an heir to the British throne thanks to his marriage to the aristocratic young woman who was barely 20 years old.
Several days ago, thousands of people camped out on the three-kilometre road between Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral, hoping to see the wedding procession.
All shops wore the royal suit, as British flags were placed on the facades that were decorated with pictures of the duo, according to the news broadcast by Agence France-Presse during the coverage of this huge event.
And “Diana’s haircut” is required in all hairdressing salons in the British capital.
1,000 armed police, and nearly 2,000 military police and cavalry were tasked with policing the occasion, the largest security mobilization since World War II.
At 10:35 am, there was applause mixed with enthusiastic whistles as Prince Charles’ carriage appeared at the gates of Buckingham Palace, after which Diana appeared from Clarence House, the residence of the future Princess of Wales, dressed in ivory white.
Along the way, hundreds of thousands of people cheered and waved British flags, while 750 million people watched the historic event around the world in front of television screens.
Diana arrived at St. Paul’s Cathedral holding the arm of her father, Count Spencer.
The crinoline dress with a white veil stretching more than 7 meters was the center of the press in the days leading up to the event.
Beneath the cathedral’s high stone vaults, 2,500 hand-picked guests are distributed, including Nancy Reagan in bright pink, the King of Tonga in his carved wooden chair, and the new French president, François Mitterrand.
In the exchange of “yes” before the Archbishop of Canterbury, the future king’s voice trembled, and he could hardly be heard whispering his consent to the wedding vows.
Diana also seemed to be nervous, especially when she accidentally pronounced Prince Charles’ names in reverse.
The Duke of Cornwall then put the golden drapery of Wales on the little finger of the left hand of his young bride, in keeping with the Anglican tradition which stipulates that only a woman should put a cusp.
On their return to Buckingham Palace, the crowds exulted as the newlyweds exchanged a quick kiss on the balcony.
In June 1982, Diana gave birth to their first son, William, and a second son, Harry, two years later.
Although portrayed in the early years as a fairy tale love story, this marriage turned out to be completely arranged.
During a television interview dedicated to the official announcement of the couple’s engagement, British journalist Charles asked if he was in love, which embarrassed the Queen’s eldest son, who replied: “It depends on your concept of love.”
The difference between the two was evident, as Charles embodies a cold conservative regime, while Diana aroused admiration wherever she went with her elegance and compassion for others.
But her public image concealed a wounded woman, knowing that her husband was still in a relationship with his young girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles.
And soon chaos reigned in the couple’s relationship, between betrayals and settling accounts in the press.
The marriage ended in divorce in 1996.
The tragic death of Diana in Paris in 1997 at the age of 36, in a car accident with her new, wealthy Egyptian boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed, caused a wave of affection that swept the world.
Charles married Camilla in 2005 in a civil ceremony away from the limelight, very different from the extravagant atmosphere of his wedding with Diana in 1981.