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Princess Diana and Prince Charles' wedding broke with 300-year royal tradition

The royals tied the knot in 1981

charles diana wedding
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
August 4, 2021
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Princess Diana and Prince Charles' wedding on 29 July 1981 had all the makings of a fairytale, especially since the couple broke with a three centuries-long royal tradition.

RELATED: Most popular royal wedding dresses: Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, Princess Diana and more

When she said 'I do' at St. Paul's Cathedral in London at the age of 20, Diana became the first British citizen to marry an heir to the British throne in 300 years. 

The last couple to do so was Anne Hyde and the future King James II, who had a secret wedding in 1660 after meeting while they were both living in exile in the Netherlands.

WATCH: Prince Charles and Princess Diana leave St Paul's Cathedral after their wedding

Marriages had long been a way to cement an alliance between countries or territories which meant that members of the royal family often married other royals. 

Since the Princess of Wales' unprecedented wedding, actress Meghan Markle has married Diana's son Prince Harry and rugby player Mike Tindall has tied the knot with the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips.

READ: Princess Diana and Prince Charles' wedding day as you've never seen it – unearthed videos

RELATED: Would you buy a slice of Princess Diana's wedding cake for £400?

charles diana wedding altar

Prince Charles and Princess Diana on their wedding day in 1981

The latter even raised concerns from Mike's family, as his father Phillip said that Mike's grandmother was "dead against" the nuptials since she was only used to royals marrying royals. He explained, "Linda's mum was dead against it. In her day, royalty married royalty and she thought the wedding would be shunned."

Charles and Diana's wedding garnered plenty of attention from the media and their fans, with over 600,000 people lining the streets to catch a glimpse of the royal bride while a congregation of 3,500 guests sat inside the venue and an estimated global TV audience of 750 million tuned in to see the nuptials.

princess diana wedding dress

Diana's wedding dress was created by David and Elizabeth Emanuel

The bride looked beautiful in a dress created by British fashion designers, David and Elizabeth Emanuel. Details about Diana's dress was one of the most closely guarded secrets in the run-up to her wedding day.

Currently on display at Kensington Palace, the ivory silk taffeta and antique lace gown with its record-breaking 25-foot train and 10,000 mother of pearl sequins and pearl embellishments, is one of the most iconic in royal history.

MORE: Princess Diana and Prince Charles both made mistakes while reciting their wedding vows

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