Prince William Engagement: A Look Back at His Parents' Wedding

Britain's Prince Charles kisses his bride, Princess Diana, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London, after their wedding on July 29, 1981. AP Photo

Britain's Prince Charles kisses his bride, Princess Diana, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London, after their wedding on July 29, 1981.
AP Photo

NEW YORK (CBS) The engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton has royal watchers thinking of another notable wedding - that of William's parents, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.

England's heir to the throne, 32, married Spencer, 20, on July 29, 1981, in a lavish ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

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The nuptials were watched by over half-a-million people in Britain, and a global audience of a staggering 750 million. By comparison, the number of guests inside the cathedral - a mere 3,500 - seems paltry.

Spencer arrived at St. Paul's in a glass coach, escorted by five mounted military police officers. She walked down the aisle in a David and Elizabeth Emanuel gown that featured lace from Charles's great-grandmother, a 25-foot train, 10,000 pearls and an 18-kt. gold horseshoe sewn into the petticoats for good luck.

Charles wore his full dress naval commander uniform.

At the altar, she accidentally reversed the order of her husband-to-be's names, saying Philip Charles Arthur George instead. She also did not promise to "obey" Charles - that traditional vow was left out at the couple's request, which reportedly caused a stir at the time.

After the ceremony, the couple went to Buckingham Palace for a dinner for 120, and the newlyweds appeared on a balcony to kiss and wave to the crowd below.

More on the royal engagement:
Prince William and Kate Middleton are Engaged
Who Is the New Princess-to-Be
Two Royal Weddings in One Season
Which Royal Title for Kate? Timing of Wedding Is Crucial

  • Jessica Derschowitz

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