CBC Digital Archives

Charles and Diana's wedding, a London fairy tale

Luxurious white bridal gowns, horse-drawn carriages, princes and princesses preparing to live "happily ever after" — for fans of the British Royal Family, there's nothing quite as thrilling as a grand royal wedding. As the spring nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton approach, CBC Digital Archives looks back at British royal weddings since 1947.

"It was as if all of London was in love," gushes CBC-TV reporter Eve Savory. This 1981 report focuses on Londoners' reactions to today's fairytale wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. "I love these things. I love royal weddings, and royal anything!" exclaims one woman. In this clip, we also hear Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's three young sons describe their thoughts on the wedding, and watch a London fashion house scramble to copy Diana's dress for brides who want to look just like the new princess on their big day.
• There were 3,500 invited guests present at the wedding of Charles and Diana at St. Paul's Cathedral in London on July 29, 1981. An additional 600,000 spectators filled the streets of London hoping to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds, while 750 million people are estimated to have watched the televised wedding worldwide.
  • Their wedding day was a national holiday in Britain.

• The ceremony went off without a hitch, except for a brief moment when Diana's nerves got the best of her and she mixed up Charles's full name during the vows. Instead of saying "Charles Philip Arthur George," she said "Philip Charles Arthur George."

• Upon their marriage, Diana took on the title The Princess of Wales.

• Prior to her marriage, Diana had worked as a preschool assistant and had also had a nannying job.

• The couple's first child, Prince William of Wales, was born on June 21, 1982. Their second son, Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales, was born two years later on Sept. 15, 1984.

• After years of marital troubles, Charles and Diana separated in 1993 and divorced in August 1996. One year later, on August 31, 1997, Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris.

• In April 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, with whom he had been having an on-and-off relationship since 1970.

Medium: Television
Program: News Special
Broadcast Date: July 29, 1981
Guest(s): Justin Trudeau, Michel Trudeau
Host: Knowlton Nash
Reporter: Eve Savory
Duration: 3:37
This clip has been edited for copyright reasons.
Photo: AP Photo/FILE

Last updated: August 1, 2013

Page consulted on March 21, 2014

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