This Day in History: Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer marry at St. Paul's Cathedral

Thirty-nine years ago today, the wedding of the century took place as Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles said their "I dos."


On this day in 1981, the wedding of the century took place.

Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles said their "I dos" at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Around 3,500 guests were in attendance at the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales and an estimated 750 million people around the world watched the ceremony on television.

Charles first met Diana four years earlier, in 1977. At the time, he was dating her older sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale. Charles and Diana’s romance didn’t begin until 1980, beginning a whirlwind romantic relationship that captivated the world.

Prominent guests at the wedding included U.S. First Lady Nancy Reagan and Princess Grace of Monaco. Outside the cathedral were at least two million spectators clamoring for a glimpse of the royals.

Diana’s dress, designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel, was made of ivory silk taffeta, decorated with lace and hand embroidery, sequins and 10,000 pearls, with a 25-foot long train.

During the ceremony, Diana said Charles’ full name incorrectly as, “Philip Charles Arthur George” instead of “Charles Philip Arthur George.” The pair caused quite the stir at the time with an intentional change, eliminating “to obey” from the vows.

After the ceremony, the two made a traditional appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace but started the trend of kissing each other. That trend was followed by their son, Prince William, and his wife, Duchess Kate, at their wedding 30 years later.

For more on the marriage of Charles and Diana, take a look at the video above.