It is estimated that 3 billion people will watch or listen as Meghan and Harry tie the knot on Saturday either on television or through social media. Compared to the 200 million that listened on the radio when Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip wed, that is jaw dropping. What is it that makes their wedding day so compelling? Is it the spectacle? Is it the romantic fairy tale come true? Or is it curiosity? Whatever it is that will make us tune in on this historic Saturday, with the rest of almost a third of the world’s population, we thought we’d take a moment to relish some of our favorite royal weddings from the past in anticipation.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
On the morning of her wedding day, Queen Elizabeth’s hairdresser broke the Fringe Tiara and it had to be police-escorted to be repaired. Don’t worry, it survived and was later worn by her daughter Princess Anne.
Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones
Again, The Crown has put Princess Margaret front and center in our minds. While she was not allowed to marry the divorced Peter Townsend, she was able to wed the handsome photographer she fell for. I’ll never forget this episode.
They wed on May 6th 1960 and as the first televised royal wedding, reached an audience of 300 million viewers worldwide. She was widely popular at the time. Their marriage lasted for 18 years.
Grace Kelly and Prince Rainer III of Monaco
Grace Kelly married into the royal family and then left Hollywood. She was introduced to the prince through their mutual friend Gone With the Wind star Olivia de Havilland. He gave her a 10.5 carat emerald cut diamond ring by Cartier.
Her iconic wedding dress designed by costumier Helen Rose was handmade by studio seamstresses and donated by MGM studios as a wedding gift. The couple and their guests feasted on lobster, caviar and champagne. The couple then enjoyed a seven-week honeymoon on their yacht, a wedding gift from Aristotle Onassis.
Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles of Wales
Although this is not a story with a happy ending, 750 million people tuned into the fairy tale wedding of 20-year-old Diana and Prince Charles. At the time, Diana was the first British Citizen to marry an heir to the British throne in 300 years.
It’s comforting to know that royals make mistakes on their wedding day too. Did you know that both Charles and Diana messed up their vows? Diana called him Charles Philip instead of Philip Charles Arthur George. Charles promised to give her “thy goods” instead of his “worldly goods”. Her silk dress became wrinkled after the carriage ride. Her tiara gave her a splitting headache. Winston Churchill’s adorable 5-year-old granddaughter, one of their bridesmaids, reportedly tripped and started crying during the ceremony.
No matter what, we will remember her epic 25-foot long train and the beautiful person that she was for a very long time.
Catherine Middleton and Prince William
This wedding which took place on April 29th, 2011 was watched by 2.2 billion people worldwide. William realized he was attracted to his friend Kate in 2003 after seeing her in a fashion show wearing a see-through dress. He proposed in 2010. On their wedding day, the happy couple enjoyed several private smiles throughout the ceremony.
They seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves despite the fact that William hadn’t slept more than 30 minutes the night before due to nerves the screaming fans outside. Kate’s elegant dress by Alexander McQueen was reminiscent of Grace Kelly’s. They kissed twice on the balcony, much to the delight of onlookers.
We can’t help but wonder what will happen on Saturday.