20+ Rare Photos from Princess Diana’s Wedding

It has been 26 years since Diana passed away, but to date, her wedding was one of the most remarkable royal celebrations ever. From her engagement ring to her dress and charming looks, Princess Diana’s wedding will always be remembered.

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The Engagement Ring!

The Engagement Ring!

The famous sapphire blue stone, which was passed onto Kate Middleton too made its debut when pictures came out of the engagement between Lady Diana and Prince Charles. The engagement happened in Buckingham Palace. The two look like the perfect fairytale couple here.

Diana’s Vibrant Cardigan

Diana’s Vibrant Cardigan

Princess Diana visited Craigowan Lodge on the Balmoral estate in Scotland alongside her fiancé, Prince Charles. During their countryside outing, she wore a vibrant sweater in shades of rose pink, sunshine yellow, fern green, lime green, and cream.

The Start of the Wedding

The Start of the Wedding

Prince Charles and Diana pose here with the soon-to-be mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth. The photo was taken at Buckingham Palace right after the Queen decided and gave her consent for the wedding nuptials. Diana looks as radiant as ever.

Rehearsals in the Go!

Rehearsals in the Go!

Here, Diana and Prince Charles leave St. Paul’s Cathedral after their first wedding rehearsal. The wedding was to happen 47 days later, on 29th July 1981. But the final rehearsal was two days before their special day. The wedding was going to be a huge spectacle, so the rehearsals were much needed.

Outfit Trials

Outfit Trials

Diana’s wedding dress was from Emanuel’s. Here, she looks extremely happy with a wide smile on her face as the wedding was only a week away.

Diana’s Wedding Dress Sketch

Diana’s Wedding Dress Sketch

Lady Diana’s dreamy taffeta gown was a sight! David and Elizabeth Emmanuel were the husband wife chosen to design Lady Di’s magical gown. The designs were kept a secret throughout as everyone anticipated what the Princess would be wearing on her big day. On the day of the ceremony, the press was given a sketch of what they would be witnessing in St. Paul’s that day.

The Famous Designer, David Emanuel

The Famous Designer, David Emanuel

Fashion designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel wanted to create a spare wedding dress for Lady Diana Spencer for her marriage to Prince Charles in London in March 1981. The minimalist style drew its influence from a pink gown designed by Emanuel for Diana, intended for a pre-wedding event. Unlike the original, this alternate version was a vibrant white and omitted the 25-foot train. It boasted a frilled neckline and slimmer sleeves tailored to fit closely around her arms. The alternative design also featured an array of pearls across the bodice, cascading into a billowing skirt adorned with scalloped embroidery.

Despite meticulous planning behind its creation, the backup design remained unseen and incomplete. Emanuel informed People magazine that upon confirming Diana’s choice of the original gown, the spare attire languished on a sample rack “somewhere.”

Some More Rehearsals

Some More Rehearsals

On 27th July 1981, Princess Diana and Prince Charles held hands two days before the wedding day. Di’s excitement is evident. After the rehearsal, there was a gala ball at Buckingham Palace, which was hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.

And the Celebrations Begin

And the Celebrations Begin

And then the celebrations finally started. There was a huge fireworks display in London the night before the wedding day. The excitement was on the rise as the celebrations began and continued till the next day. This was going to be one of the most anticipated weddings of the royal family. The Royal Air Force performed the Prince of Wales feathers’ formation over Caernarfon Castle.

Banners for the Couple’s Support

Banners for the Couple’s Support

There were banners during the procession route, showing immense support and love for the soon-to-be royal couple!

Campers Staying Overnight

Campers Staying Overnight

There were hundreds and thousands of people with families camping from the day before the wedding. Fans and well-wishers across the country were out on the streets to make sure they caught every glimpse of the royal wedding. With British flags in their hands, this was a historic, patriotic, proud moment.

The Paparazzi!

The Paparazzi!

There was worldwide media coverage. There was press from all around the world to broadcast the events. Driving past the paparazzi must have been a task!

Crowds Controlled by the Police Force

Crowds Controlled by the Police Force

The massive crowd had to be controlled, so the Police were in full swing to ensure that the procession was as smooth as possible for the newlyweds and the onlookers.

The Wedding Cake!

The Wedding Cake!

Before departing for their honeymoon, Prince Charles and Princess Diana celebrated with a more intimate gathering at Buckingham Palace. Out of the 3,500 guests from the cathedral ceremony, only 120 were invited. They enjoyed a lavish feast featuring dishes like brill in lobster sauce and Suprême de Volaille Princesse de Galles, a chicken breast stuffed with lamb mousse, wrapped in brioche, and served with Madeira sauce and asparagus tips—a dish named after Diana, who favoured chicken.

At the breakfast ceremony, guests were treated to an astounding 27 wedding cakes. The main cake, standing five feet tall, showcased the coats of arms of both bride and groom and their initials and was adorned with roses, lilies of the valley, and orchids. Created by David Avery from the Royal Naval Cookery School, the cake featured five tiers separated by Roman columns and weighed a total of 200 pounds.

The Grand Guest List!

The Grand Guest List!

3,500 guests attended the wedding, including numerous global leaders such as Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, Nancy Reagan, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and the prince’s parents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, along with Princess Anne and Mark Philips. Additionally present was Prince Charles’s current spouse, Camilla Parker Bowles, although she did not attend the smaller wedding reception.

The Guests Arrive!

And The Guests Arrive!

The guests started arriving and spotted here is the designer himself, David Emanuel.

Nancy Regan Amongst the Guests

Nancy Regan Amongst the Guests

Famous personalities from all over the world took part in the royal family’s wedding of the century. First Lady Nancy Regan was there, too, in a blush outfit. She looked as ethereal as ever.

The Bridesmaids Arrive

The Bridesmaids Arrive

Princess Diana’s bridesmaids were given royal treatment, arriving in a gold carriage, with some of them being royalty themselves. They all looked adorable and perfectly coordinated with the wedding theme! Bridesmaids India Hicks and Clementine Hambro were photographed in this coach.

Price Edward Waves at the Crowd

Price Edward Waves at the Crowd

Prince Charles’s younger brother, Prince Edward, is visible in this photo, with Princess Di’s bridal attendants in the coach. He smiled and waved at the crowd as he proceeded towards St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Princess Anne and Princess Margeret Make an Appearance

Princess Anne and Princess Margeret Make an Appearance

Princess Anne and Princess Margeret are the most stylish royals. No doubt, their entrance looked stunning and regal!

The Bridesmaids’ TaffetasThe Bridesmaids’ Taffetas

Diana’s bridesmaids wore dresses resembling hers, crafted from taffeta satin with lace details and adorned with yellow ribbon sashes. The youngest attendants, Clementine Hambro and Catherine Cameron, wore vibrant flower crowns that coordinated with their bouquets.

Prince Charles Arrives!

Prince Charles Arrives!

Finally, the groom, Prince Charles, was spotted waving happily to the excited crowd. The crowd cheered and clapped as the prince headed towards his wedding processional.

Here Comes the Bride!

And Here Comes the Bride!

This was the moment the entire world was waiting for. The soon-to-be Princess Diana arrived with her father and waved at the crowd in her beaming taffeta. As Diana smiled through her veil, it was a historic moment. The excitement of the crowd was uncontrollable.

The 25-Foot-Long Train

The 25-Foot-Long Train

The breathtaking photo here shows Princess Diana walking out of her carriage with her 25-foot-long train and veil. The bridesmaids helped her step out, and this picture looks like a dream, as the train falls on the steps of the Cathedral.

A Grand Entrance!

A Grand Entrance!

As the Princess walks inside St. Paul’s, the royal guards stand outside in a systematic way. Everything about the wedding was immaculate. This photo looks nothing less than royalty!

The Man Behind the Iconic Dress!

The Man Behind the Iconic Dress!

Here is a closer look at the Designer, David Emanuel, who stands beside Diana on her wedding day. The dress was a design that inspired the future bridal designs!

Camilla Parker Bowles Amongst the Guests!

Camilla Parker Bowles Amongst the Guests!

As seen in the picture, Camilla Parker Bowles also attended the wedding. Diana noticed Camilla Parker Bowles among the guests, recalling in a 1991 interview with Morton that she actively searched for her. She vividly remembered Camilla’s presence: a pale grey outfit with a veiled pillbox hat, and even noticed her son Tom standing on a chair during the ceremony.

Daddy Dearest Walks the Bride Down the Aisle

Daddy Dearest Walks the Bride Down the Aisle

Diana walked down the aisle with her father, Earl Edward John Spencer, despite his unsteadiness following a stroke three years earlier. That day, Diana wore her own jewels and looked breathtaking.

The Dress Was Not an Easy Job to Manage

The Dress Was Not an Easy Job to Manage

The extravagant, long dress was not easy to manage. Diana’s assistants made sure that the fall and the drape of the wedding outfit were always perfect. As she walked towards her Prince, Diana looked surreal with her father by her side.

All Eyes on the Bride!

All Eyes on the Bride!

This was just a few moments before the wows were to be taken.

The Dress Got Creased

The Dress Got Creased

Trumpets blared as Diana got off from her carriage, her record-breaking 25-foot train trailing behind her. Bridesmaid India Hicks remembered in Tatler how during rehearsals, they used a dust cloth to practice folding and unfolding the train smoothly. However, on the actual day, panic set in, leading to a lot of creasing.

The Groom Waits!

The Groom Waits!

Prince Andrew and Prince Edward stood next to their brother, Prince Charles, as he patiently waited for his bride’s arrival.

The Grandeur of St. Paul’s Cathedral

The Grandeur of St. Paul’s Cathedral

The view of the stunning cathedral! It looked out of a movie as the Princess walked down the aisle. While royal weddings traditionally took place at Westminster Abbey, Diana and Charles opted for London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, which the church described as “unusual” on its website. The cathedral’s capacity of 3,500 was suitable for their 2,500 guests.

The Bride and the Groom Have a Moment

The Bride and the Groom Have a Moment

According to the report, the couple made the decision after “serious” consultations with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Robert Runcie.

Despite their thorough preparations, the royal couple’s vow recital did not go exactly the way it was planned. Diana inadvertently referred to Prince Charles, whose full name includes Philip, as Prince Philip Charles. Charles, in turn, mistakenly offered Diana “thy goods” instead of the customary “my worldly goods.”

Continuing a tradition spanning 58 years, Prince Charles upheld custom by presenting his bride with a Welsh gold ring from the Clogau St. David’s mine—an homage started by the Queen Mother in her marriage to King George VI.

The Curtsy!

The Curtsy!

As per royal protocol, it is customary to curtsy to the Queen upon first seeing her each day. This explains why Princess Diana curtsied to the monarch during her wedding ceremony.

An Ariel View of St. Paul’s Cathedral

An Ariel View of St. Paul’s Cathedral

While Charles expressed a strong desire for music to play a significant role in their wedding (“I’ve always wished for a musical wedding,” he said in a TV interview per the Washington Post), both bride and groom chose songs for their ceremony. Charles selected Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” and the hymn “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation,” citing the hymn’s “marvelous melody” as his reason. Diana chose “I Vow to Thee My Country,” a long-time favourite of hers since her school days.

Breaking from tradition, the Princess of Wales omitted the word “obey” from her vows to Prince Charles, as per the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, which dates back to 1662.

Mistakes During the Vows

Mistakes During the Vows

This was the moment where the wows were taken, and some mistakes happened, although the couple rehearsed before the wedding. It was a royal wedding, and so the couple showed how nervous it had been!

The Marriage Certificate!

The Marriage Certificate!

Both Charles and Diana, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, signed the royal marriage certificate.

Diana’s Tiara

Diana’s Tiara

For her “something borrowed,” Princess Diana had the choice of borrowing Queen Elizabeth II’s Queen Mary Lover’s Knot tiara, later worn by Kate Middleton. Instead, she opted for her family’s Spencer tiara, previously worn by her sisters, Lady Sarah and Lady Jane, at their weddings and by her former sister-in-law Victoria Lockwood at her marriage to Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer. The Spencer tiara is a historical piece assembled from various components, including end pieces from a piece belonging to Viscountess Frances Manby. The central part originates from a wedding gift presented to Diana’s grandmother, Lady Cynthia Hamilton, upon her marriage to Albert Spencer.

However, wearing the tiara caused Diana discomfort. Her brother mentioned to ET in 2010 that she had a severe headache because she wasn’t accustomed to wearing a tiara for an extended period.

Currently owned by Charles Spencer, the tiara was recently exhibited by Sotheby’s for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, alongside approximately 40 other royal and aristocratic tiaras.

Diana’s Bouquet

Diana’s Bouquet

Princess Diana’s florist, like her dress designers, took precautions by preparing two identical bouquets. The bouquets were composed of gardenias, stephanotis, odontoglossum orchids, lily of the valley, Earl Mountbatten roses, freesia, veronica, ivy, myrtle, and tradescantia.

Florist David Longman explained to Express that Queen Elizabeth initiated the practice after losing her flowers during her own wedding. “We made two bouquets,” Longman disclosed. “The first had to be delivered promptly at 8 o’clock to Buckingham Palace with a police escort. Upon returning, the second bouquet was completed, and we delivered it again,” he recounted.

The Procession Starts!

The Procession Starts!

Following tradition, the newlyweds enjoyed a carriage procession from their wedding venue to Buckingham Palace after the ceremony.

The Crowd Cheers

The Crowd Cheers

The newlyweds leave the cathedral through the West Door and boarded an open-top 1902 state landau drawn by four white horses, greeted by enthusiastic crowds. Andrew Parker Bowles, Camilla’s husband at the time, rode alongside the carriage to Buckingham Palace in his role as the Commanding Officer of the Household Cavalry Regiment.

All Smiles!

All Smiles!

Charles and Diana received the greetings of over 60,000 well-wishers as they travelled from St. Paul’s Cathedral to Buckingham Palace.

An Inside View of the Carriage

An Inside View of the Carriage

This is how the carriage looked from the inside. The couple’s carriage travelled along Fleet Street on their route to Buckingham Palace.

Diana Smiling at The Crowd

Diana Smiling at The Crowd

Princess Diana, smiling at the crowd as she leaves the Cathedral to go to Buckingham Palace with her husband, Prince Charles.

Queen Elizabeth with the Guests

Queen Elizabeth with the Guests

Queen Elizabeth here stands with the guests as the newlywed couple leaves for Buckingham Palace, where the family portraits will be taken. She is beaming with happiness and will be following the couple to head back.

Diana Reaches Buckingham Palace

Diana Reaches Buckingham Palace

Princess Diana’s dress needed assistance at every step. As she got out of the carriage, her bridal assistants were there to the rescue.

A Beautiful Close-Up of the Newlyweds

A Beautiful Close-Up of the Newlyweds

This close-up shot captures the couple as they greet the crowds outside St. Paul’s Cathedral after the ceremony.

Diana and her Expressions!

Diana and her Expressions!

Princess Diana is known to be one of the most photographed people. This is a candid photo of the bride looking excited as she stands next to her Prince.

Diana Enters Buckingham Palace

Diana Enters Buckingham Palace

In British tradition, unlike American ceremonies, the wedding party typically consists of children. Diana’s bridesmaids included 17-year-old Sarah Armstrong-Jones, Princess Margaret’s daughter, and four others, including Charles’s goddaughter India Hicks. Hicks recalled in “Diana: The Portrait: Anniversary Edition” that Diana, dressed casually in jeans, eagerly watched herself on TV and even sang along to commercials with her attendants.

The Bridesmaids Assist the Bride

The Bridesmaids Assist the Bride

The bridal attendants help Diana make her way up the steps of the Buckingham Palace.

Queen Elizabeth Arrives

Queen Elizabeth Arrives

The queen heads back to Buckingham Palace. She wore a blue outfit with pearls and a matching hat for the wedding.

Diana Showering the Bridesmaids with Love

Diana Showering the Bridesmaids with Love

Princess Diana won the hearts of the people ever since her name was associated with the Royal family. Here, the Princess is seen walking in Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth and holding one of her bridesmaids in her arms. A young boy carried her bouquet as they proceeded to the wedding pictures. She is carrying five-year-old Clementine Hambro.

Diana with her Bridesmaids

Diana with her Bridesmaids

Princess Diana, surrounded by the guests and her bridesmaids.

The Couple Before the Family Portraits

The Couple Before the Family Portraits

The newlyweds shared a candid and intimate moment shortly after exchanging vows at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Diana’s Touch-up Before the Portraits

Diana’s Touch-up Before the Portraits

A touch-up is necessary even for the bride of the Royal Family. Princess Diana gets ready before the family photograph session starts.

Diana’s Bridesmaids Outfits Matched Her Bridal Dress

Diana’s Bridesmaids Outfits Matched Her Bridal Dress

Diana’s bridesmaids were the daughters of prominent royal acquaintances, such as Princess Margaret’s daughter, Winston Churchill’s great-granddaughter, Charles’ goddaughter India Hicks, his racehorse trainer’s daughter, and the daughter of close friends of the prince. They wore scalloped dresses with yellow sashes designed by Emanuel and carried baskets of yellow roses and wildflowers.

Family Portraits

Family Portraits

Before the celebratory luncheon commenced, the newlyweds posed for official portraits with their families and the wedding party in the Throne Room. Alongside the five bridesmaids were Charles’ godsons, Lord Nicholas Windsor, aged 11, and Edward van Cutsem, aged 8, who served as pageboys. Charles’ younger brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, acted as his supporters, a traditional role for kings and princes of England instead of having the best man.

An Iconic Bridal Dress

An Iconic Bridal Dress

Princess Diana’s wedding dress is renowned as one of the most iconic in history, often referred to as the ‘most closely guarded secret in fashion history’ due to the minimal details revealed before its unveiling on Diana’s wedding day.

The Love Sight!

The Love Sight!

Although the couple had its tough times, these photographs gave the public an impression of a fairy-tale story. Princess Diana’s eyes expressed the love she had for her husband, and it all seemed too good to be true!

Patrick Lichfield was the Photographer

Patrick Lichfield was the Photographer

Princess Diana prepared for her wedding portraits in the Throne Room. Dress designers Elisabeth and David Emanuel helped arrange the train while photographer Patrick Lichfield held his camera.

Prince Michael Among the Guests

Prince Michael Amongst the Guests

Prince Michale of Kent with guests as they mingle at the Palace and chat while the family proceeds to take photos.

Queen Elizabeth Watches TV

Queen Elizabeth Watches TV

Queen Elizabeth watched the crowd on TV before greeting them and engaging with the other Royal family members.

The Bouquet Tradition

The Bouquet Tradition

Following tradition, Diana’s bouquet, consisting of white orchids, freesias, gardenias, and lily of the valley, weighing approximately 2 kilograms (over 4 pounds) and measuring nearly 42 inches long, was placed on the tomb of the Unknown Warrior Grave in Westminster Abbey.

Diana and Prince Charles on Buckingham Palace’s Balcony

Diana and Prince Charles on Buckingham Palace’s Balcony

Just before the wedding party gathered for photos on the palace balcony, police permitted the crowd to overflow onto the Mall. Many rushed up to the palace gates, and some even climbed into the fountain for a better view. As Charles and Diana appeared on the balcony, the crowd cheered loudly. The couple appeared surprised by the sea of Union Jacks waving below.

The Kiss!

The Kiss!

Prince Charles forgot to kiss his bride at the altar after exchanging vows, but he made up for this by kissing Diana on the balcony in front of cheering crowds. Their eldest son, Prince William, also observed this tradition at his wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011.

The View from The Back!

The View from The Back!

The Prince and the Princess are photographed from behind as they wave to the huge crowd gathered to see the royal couple together in their Palace!

 The Mother-in-Law and the Princess Share Smiles

The Mother-in-Law and the Princess Share Smiles

Despite rumours of a strained relationship between Diana and the Queen over the years, they seemed to exchange a smile during their first appearance together as mother and daughter-in-law.

The Bride Waves

The Bride Waves

In addition to setting a record for the largest TV wedding audience, Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage profoundly influenced future wedding trends. According to wedding publicist Leila Lewis, their nuptials inspired girls worldwide to envision their own fairytale weddings. Soon after, simple punch-bowl receptions gave way to extravagant celebrations featuring elaborate dresses and even tiaras.

Off to the Honeymoon!

Off to the Honeymoon!

Following the cake cutting, India Hicks disclosed that she and some other bridesmaids went upstairs to assist Diana in changing into her pink going-away outfit. The atmosphere was playful and filled with laughter.

The Crowd Cheers Again!

The Crowd Cheers Again!

After their iconic wedding, Charles and Diana once again passed through the crowds, this time to begin their honeymoon.

Just Married!

Just Married!

The couple departed for their honeymoon in an open landau decorated with a ‘Just Married’ sign and a large bouquet of heart-shaped silver and blue balloons. They travelled to Waterloo Station to catch a train to Broadlands, a country house in Hampshire where Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip had also spent their wedding night.

Diana’s Pink Outfit!

Diana’s Pink Outfit!

David Sassoon of Bellville Sassoon created Diana’s outfit.

Off to Hampshire

Diana, Princess of Wales, became synonymous with pie crust collars as part of her Sloane Ranger style, but it was her affinity for Peter Pan collared shirts that truly reflected her character. She wore exaggerated Prairie styles and oversized frilly necklines adorned with ribbons, making monster-collared blouses a key element of her eclectic daytime wardrobe.

Off to Gibraltar

Off to Gibraltar

After spending three nights at Broadlands, the couple flew to Gibraltar and boarded the Royal Yacht Britannia for an 11-day cruise of the Mediterranean.

Opposites Attract (Or Not)

Opposites Attract (Or Not)

This rare picture shows the two looking at opposite sides—they were complete opposites in real life, too!

And Here They Go

And Here They Go

The couple wave as they sail for their cruise. Princess Diana later shared that this was their perfect trip to get some sleep!

Sunkissed and In Love

Sunkissed and In Love

The couple arrived in Scotland for the last part of their honeymoon, appearing noticeably sun-kissed.

Love at Balmoral Castle

Love at Balmoral Castle

Prince Charles and Princess Diana travelled to Scotland, where the rest of the Royal Family had assembled at Balmoral Castle. They enjoyed their time in a hunting lodge on the estate during this period.

Honeymoon Over

Honeymoon Over

How happy does the new couple look on their honeymoon? The body language showed how deeply in love Princess Diana was.

The couple’s wedding day became a public holiday, and they were warmly greeted by thousands of well-wishers outside St. Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace after the ceremony. According to Historic Royal Palaces, there were 80 broadcasters from 50 countries broadcasting live pictures via the BBC on that day. As a result, some of the less widely seen photos, particularly those capturing candid moments between Charles and Diana, may not be as familiar to the public.

Kanza Panhwar
Kanza Panhwar
Dr. Kanza Panhwar, the dynamic online writer, captivates readers in the digital realm. Armed with an MBBS degree, she crafts engaging content on diverse topics, from tech-savvy reviews, and insightful medical analysis to thought-provoking opinion pieces. With a conversational tone and colloquial expression, Jessica fosters a strong connection with her audience, while her adaptability keeps her at the forefront of the ever-evolving internet landscape for the past six years. Embracing the digital era's opportunities, she leaves an indelible mark on the virtual world, one captivating article at a time.
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