The fairytale love story that gripped the world

Pomp and ceremony: Prince Charles's wedding to Lady Diana Spencer on July 29, 1981, was a glittering event watched by billions around the globe.
Pomp and ceremony: Prince Charles's wedding to Lady Diana Spencer on July 29, 1981, was a glittering event watched by billions around the globe.
jpns-22-07-17 retro July 2017

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As Prince William and Kate Middleton were making their wedding vows today, everyone was casting their minds back to the day of his mother’s glittering ceremony.

In the modern era of royal weddings, the marriage of Lady Diana Spencer to the Prince of Wales, is the one which stands out.

April 9, 2005: The wedding of Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles at the register office in Windsor was an altogether more low-key affair.

April 9, 2005: The wedding of Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles at the register office in Windsor was an altogether more low-key affair.

As The News reported in our final edition of Wednesday, July 29, 1981:

‘Prince Charles today slipped a gold ring on to the wedding finger of his fairytale princess, Lady Diana Spencer, to seal, in solemn marriage, the romance which has caught the imagination of the world.

‘It was the musical and emotional experience of a lifetime that Prince Charles had hoped for.’

The couple had broken with royal tradition by choosing St Paul’s Cathedral not Westminster Abbey for the ceremony which was watched by billions around the globe.

The News reported that dozens of happy revellers from the Portsmouth area camped out on the streets of London to catch a glimpse of the couple.

And that evening 7,500 people made their way to the top of Hampshire’s highest hill, Butser Hill, near Petersfield, to see a royal wedding beacon lit.

By then copies of the final edition of the paper had been rushed to Waterloo and placed on the royal train as the couple headed to Broadlands, Romsey, to begin their honeymoon.

The following day a full colour souvenir edition of the paper was published selling more than 100,000 copies.

Of course, the marriage was doomed to fail and after the Princess of Wales’s death in August 1997 the path was clear for Prince Charles to marry his long-time love Camilla Parker Bowles.

That ceremony took place at the register office in Windsor on a bright but chilly Saturday morning - April 9, 2005.

By then things had, by necessity, become less formal in the soap opera which surrounded the House of Windsor.

The News reported: ‘Zara Phillips jumped off the bus, ran after her cousin Prince William and pinched his backside.

‘All eyes waited for his reaction to gauge the mood of the 22-year-old on what could have been this most difficult of days for him.

‘He whirled around, hair flapping in the spring sunshine, and, looking more like his mother than ever, flashed an enormous grin at Princess Anne’s daughter.’