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Policing the 1981 royal wedding

The Story


Two days before the biggest royal wedding in a generation, thousands of monarchy watchers have turned up to catch a glimpse of Charles and Diana at their final rehearsal. The event also gives the London police a chance to rehearse for the big day, when they will post officers every few paces along the wedding procession route. As this 1981 CBC news report notes, recent unrest in England and potential threats from the Irish Republican Army have prompted security forces to take many precautions.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: July 27, 1981
Guest(s): Wilford Gibson
Host: George McLean
Reporter: Mark Phillips
Duration: 2:16
This clip was edited for copyright reasons.

Did You know?


• According to the Globe and Mail, 10,000 unarmed police officers and 1,000 armed guardsmen were slated to work on the royal wedding day. The guardsmen were to stand precisely 52 paces apart along the procession route.

• Grandstands along the route were erected for paying customers who wished to have a seat, but everyone with a ticket had to undergo a security check by London's Metropolitan Police.

• Security measures for the wedding also extended to foreign airports, where British security officers helped airlines screen passengers flying into London.

• In addition to tight security for the wedding itself, the design for Diana's wedding gown was also carefully guarded. The designers locked the laneway leading to the shop, hired patrols to keep it safe from prying eyes and papered the windows to prevent photography.


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