July 29 would have been 40 years since Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer, or Lady Di as she had become known as. The whole world had to stop for that wedding.
Union Jack flags, banners featuring Charles and Diana’s faces, bunting and Charles and Diana paraphernalia like mugs and tea towels, reigned supreme.
Diana had become very popular very quickly. People invested in her and everyone wanted a piece of her.
As the day dawned, the streets of London were crowded with over night campers, hoping to get a good look at the procession, and all over the UK, street parties were held.
However, on reflection, the cracks were already showing. The “whatever love means” comment from Charles when asked if they were in love at their engagement interview, Diana fleeing from a polo field in tears a few days beforehand and, as a friend of mine put it “they don’t seem to even know one another, never mind love each other”.
So whatever doubts the public had about their relationship, and, indeed, the doubts of Diana herself, they were all put aside for that day.
My brother and his wife, who had got married themselves the year before, came over to watch it with mum, dad and I, and my sister, who’d been over in Ireland with our grandparents and auntie, was due back that day.
My sister-in-law was particularly keen on seeing the dress and to comparing it to her own.
As the bride emerged from the carriage and the world got their first glimpse of “The Dress”, my sister-in-law yelped in horror, said it was all creasy and was bitterly disappointed, but nonetheless, it wasn’t going to put her off watching the rest of the wedding and as the bride, with her father at her arm, proceeded down the aisle to the strains of Crown Imperial, my sister burst in at that crucial moment, having just returned from Ireland, and my sister-in-law was none too pleased.
“I knew this would happen!” she huffed, but at least my sister then made herself scarce, not being the least bit intersted in the event.
Still, the creasy dress apart, the wedding fulfilled all expectations and was, as Charles put it, a wonderful musical occasion, and as the bride and groom emerged from St Paul’s Cathedral to the accompaniment of Pomp and Circumstance, the crowd began to cheer.
They cheered again during the kiss on the balcony and kept on cheering as the bride and groom’s procession wended its way round London’s streets.
The celebrations went on well into the evening and afterwards there was a real sense of anti-climax. As the assistants at the local post office took down the decorations and bunting, one of them happened to say “this lot won’t be back up again till the coronation now!”
Forty years later there is still nothing doing in that respect!
Well, we all know the whole sequence of events that filled Charles’ and Diana’s world, and indeed, the whole world’s following this very impressive and opulent event.
Diana provided the obligatory heir and spare and proved to be an excellent mother but she was clearly miserable and, as it turns out, there were three of them in this marriage, the third party being Charles’ former girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowes.
On the day, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who carried out the service, likened the wedding to a fairytale. Unfortunately, it was a fairytale with a sting in the tail.
The unfortunate events that led to the end of the marriage were nothing compared to the ultimate disaster, the untimely death of Diana during a paparazzi, car chase. She was just 36.
Sadly, their two sons are now estranged from each other which I’m sure would’ve broken Diana’s heart.
So, basically you can have all the money, power, and all that goes with it, in the world but without a deep and mutual love, no marriage stands a chance.
Still, no one wanted to entertain the thought that this could all go pear-shaped as the world took the day off to celebrate, and glorify in the whole procedure and a creasy dress was the least of the bride’s worries.
RIP Diana. You may have had a magnificent wedding but you deserved better as far as the marriage itself was concerned.