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Charles and Diana's Wedding

Who: HRH Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer

When: July 29, 1981

Where: Vows were recited within St.Paul's Cathedral in London, England.

The Engagement: A proposal earlier in the month in the nursery at Windsor Castle led to an official announcement on February 24, 1981, when the future king of England and the former children's nanny gathered in the gardens of Buckingham Palace to dazzle journalists with the bride-to-be's white gold engagement ring, which was dominated by an oval sapphire embraced by fourteen diamonds. Diana personally chose the gem, picking the largest stone on the display tray.

The Ceremony: The streets of London were alive with a profusion of Union Jacks waving in the mid-morning air as Lady Diana Spencer and her father began their journey from the Queen Mother's residence, Clarence House, to the Sir Christopher Wren-designed St. Paul's Cathedral -- a venue chosen for the wedding by the groom, who found it more aesthetically pleasing than Westminster Abbey, where the most royal events are held. From a glass coach, the bride acknowleged the throng of admirers who had waited for days to catch a glimpse of the twenty-year-old woman who, it was believed, would one day reign over the land.

British Royal Wedding Index

HRH Prince Charles & Lady Diana Spencer The world watched these royal nuptials held at London's St. Paul's Cathedral.

HRH Prince Charles & Camilla Parker Bowles A love story 35 years in the making came to fruition in the town of Windsor.

HRH Prince Andrew & Sarah Ferguson Over half a billion people watched these royal nuptials.

HRH Prince Edward & Sophie Rhys-Jones Windsor Castle's St. George's Chapel was the setting for these royal nuptials.

HRH Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip The future queen of England and her prince declared their love inside Westminster Abbey.

HRH Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones Westminster Abbey was the setting for this royal event.

Queen Elizabeth and King George VI The Queen Mother wed the man she called Bertie in Westminster Abbey.

Camilla Parker Bowles & Andrew Parker Bowles Over eight hundred guests, including the Queen Mother and Princess Anne attended this wedding.

Duke & Duchess of Windsor Less than six months after abdicating the throne, the former King Edward VIII stood by the woman he loved in France.

Royal Wedding Vendors See where some of the world's most-watched brides got everything from flowers to shoes

A three and one-half minute walk down the aisle was followed by a service that, in the words of the Archbishop of Caterbury, was "the stuff of which fairy tales are made." During the ceremony the groom presented his bride with a wedding band fashioned from Welsh gold, as is the tradition in the royal family.

The Dress: An estimated 750 million television viewers breathlessly waited to see the ivory silk confection by British husband and wife designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel. Enhanced by 10,000 pearls and mother-of-pearl sequins, the "meringue" style gown was a Victorian vision, complete with puffed sleeves and a twenty-five-foot-long train. Attention was paid to even the smallest of details of the bridal ensemble, from the dainty bow embellishing the neckline to the ruffled hearts and heels of hand-painted gold on the ivory silk slippers fashioned by Baboucha Shoes. To add the finishing touch, a perfumed, cascading bouquet was composed of yellow Mountbatten roses, gardenias, stephanotis, orchids, lily of the valley and freesia. To further tie the past with the present, accents of myrtle and veronica from Queen Victoria's garden at Osborne House were interspersed among the array of blossoms.

In keeping with bridal tradition, Diana's "something old" was represented by Queen Mary's antique Carrickmacross lace, which was used as romantic enhancements on the gown, which stood in for her "something new." The Spencer family tiara was "something borrowed", while her "something blue" was hidden from the view as the casual observer, who never realized that a dainty blue bow was hidden inside the gown, as was a good luck amulet-- a small golden horseshoe encrusted with diamonds.

The bride's young assistants were a cherubic congregation, garbed in ballerina-length ivory silk taffeta dresses embellished with lace and a golden sash at the waist. The bridesmaid's carried small baskets of flowers in a kaleidescope of colors which matched the wreath of blossoms resting upon their heads.

The Reception: After appeasing the crowd of well-wishers with a kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, the bride and groom sat for a Lord Snowden wedding portrait session followed by a traditional royal wedding breakfast, where guests dined on gold plates filled with brill in lobster sauce, chicken breasts garnished with lamb mousse, and strawberries with Cornish cream washed down with claret and port before the groom brandished his ceremonial sword to cut the first slice of a five-tiered wedding cake adorned with emblems from his Naval days, sugar doves, and topped with a garden of confectionary roses, lilies of the valley, fuchsias and orchids accenting an ornamental "C" and "D."

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