The wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer took place on Wednesday 29 July 1981 at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, United Kingdom. The groom was the heir to the British throne. The bride was a member of the prominent Spencer family.
The ceremony was a traditional Church of England wedding service. The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral Alan Webster presided at the service, and the Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie conducted the marriage. Notable figures in attendance included many members of royal families from across the world, Republican heads of state, and members of the bride’s and groom’s families. After the ceremony, the couple made the traditional appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The United Kingdom had a national holiday on that day to mark the wedding. The ceremony featured many ceremonial aspects, including the use of the state carriages and roles for the Foot Guards and Household Cavalry.
The wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton took place on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London, United Kingdom. The groom, Prince William, is second in the line of succession to the British throne. The bride, Catherine Middleton, had been his girlfriend since 2004.
The Dean of Westminster, John Hall, presided at the service; the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, conducted the marriage; Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, preached the sermon; and a reading was given by the bride’s brother, James. William’s best man was his brother, Prince Harry, while the bride’s sister, Pippa, was maid of honor. The ceremony was attended by the bride’s and groom’s families, as well as members of foreign royal dynasties, diplomats, and the couple’s chosen personal guests. After the ceremony, the couple made the traditional appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. As Prince William was not the heir apparent to the throne, the wedding was not a full state occasion and many details were left to the couple to decide, such as much of the guest list of about 1,900.
The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was held on 19 May 2018 in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom. The groom, Prince Harry, is a member of the British royal family; the bride, Meghan Markle, is an American and former actress. On the morning of the wedding, Prince Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, conferred upon him the titles of Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel. On her marriage, Markle became Duchess of Sussex. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, officiated at the wedding using the standard Anglican church service for Holy Matrimony published in Common Worship, the liturgical text of the Church of England.
Scroll down to see how the three most significant weddings of the past 40 years compared to one another.
Official royal engagement photographs:
The royal bridesmaids and pageboys:
The royal veil:
The royal bouquet
The bridal beauty
Walking down the aisle:
The royal wedding cake:
Diana and Charles’s, Kate and William’s and Meghan and Harry’s
Hand in hand as newlyweds:
The royal carriage ride:
First kiss as husband and wife:
Official royal wedding portraits: