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Friday, July 29, 2011

30 Years Since "The Wedding of the Century"...


I've said by now that on occasion I will differ from the subject of old movies and Old Hollywood stars, and today is one of those occasions...this year happens to be a year of lots of anniversaries - most importantly, the 100th birthday of Lucy, but also the 50th birthdays of President Obama and Princess Diana, the 60th anniversary of "I Love Lucy," the 70th of Pearl Harbor.... the list just goes on! And today is another one of those anniversaries... the 30th anniversary of "The Wedding of the Century."

By this I mean the July 29th, 1981 nuptials between Lady Diana Spencer (as she was then) and Prince Charles. It was dubbed "The Wedding of the Century" - but to be fair, most royal weddings are. Princess Grace and Prince Rainier had had a "Wedding of the Century" thirty years before, and just a few months ago when William and Kate wed, it became the wedding of THIS century - until the next royals get married, of course.

So this is a term used quite loosely, but Diana and Charles's wedding did leave quite a mark. A lot of it had to do with Princess Diana. And so, that will be the topic of today's Blog - even though I'm an a American girl, and this is a British event, I'll cave in for the time being.

I think one of the most memorable things of the day was Diana's dress. I love a lot of the clothes she wore, especially as time wore on, but the beginning years when she was making the transition from Lady Diana to Princess of Wales was sort of rocky. The wedding dress is a good example:

It is said in later years when the dress came out of hiding some place, Diana would cringe and tell them to put it away. One can understand why - in my opinion, I'm a fan of Diana, but not the dress! However, it is also pretty easy to understand Diana's choice. She was twenty years old when she was married, and probably trying to dream up that perfect, fantasy "princess" dress.

It was designed by Elizabeth and David Emmanuel. Once I watched a TV special about Royal Weddings and David Emmanuel was interviewed about Diana's dress. He put it best when he said that if you asked a little girl to draw a princess's dress, it would turn out just like Diana's wedding dress. He also explained how Diana had wanted it to be frilly, ruffly, romantic, etc. He brought up a valid point - Diana brought back the "fancy dress". By 1981, wedding dresses were becoming less extravagant and Diana changed all of that... with those big puff sleeves!

The most important and memorable thing about the dress, was, though, the train....

That stretched 25 feet long! When she stepped out of her glass carriage with her father to enter St. Paul's Cathedral, the world watched and gasped as it just coming and coming out... it was actually pretty amazing.

David said that he and Diana got sort of excited about doing a very long train, and so they looked up the longest train in the history of Royal Weddings (I think it may have been Princess Ann or something - anyway, Diana now holds the record), measured the aisle of St. Paul's, and produced this.

Then there were two other little details: the tiara and the bouquet. 

Diana chose to wear the Spencer Tiara, from her own family -

The legend goes that the tiara was quite heavy and landed up giving Diana a headache the whole day! However, you have to admit - it's quite pretty.

There was also the wedding bouquet, created by Longmans Limited of London, consisted of gardenias, golden roses, pips of Stephanotis, miniature ivy, leaves of tradescantia, myrtle, and veronica. 

The bouquet in itself was also quite revolutionary (as explained on that same program I watched) because bouquets, like dresses, had become less extravagant and quite small by that time. But Diana's was big and draping - nearly a shower of flowers.

There was, of course, the ring...

If it looks familiar, that's because Prince William is a little bit of a regifter. He used the same engagement ring - sapphire surrounded by diamonds - for his wife, Kate Middleton.

Don't forget the wedding cake!

I wonder if it was chocolate?

Last, but certainly not least, there was the wedding couple themselves. And although they weren't exactly the fairytale couple (as we all know now), Diana looked lovely on her wedding day, and, uhm... Prince Charles didn't look like a wimp. not exactly...

Diana and Charles also started one last tradition - the balcony kiss. You don't kiss in the church in England, but the crowds wanted a kiss from the newlyweds so they settled for a little peck on the balcony:

How scandalous!

Anyway, I just thought it would give me a little opportunity to write a Diana blog (since this Blog wasn't in creation earlier in July, when she celebrated her 50th birthday)... and tomorrow, we'll get back to old movies.



Albert Ramsey said...

You did a good job in compiling every single wedding memoir of Lady D, Rianna. I must agree that every detail of her wedding was extravagant, especially her gown. It felt like she's walking on clouds. And the florists who did her bouquet were geniuses; they made sure that it wouldn't left behind by the gown.

Albert @Sarasota Enchanted Flowers

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