9 Princess Diana Wedding Details You Probably Never Knew

Can you believe it’s been almost 41 years since Princess Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London? Neither can we, which is why we decided to take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the lesser known details about the fairy tale ceremony and celebration back in 1981.

In honor of their 41st wedding anniversary on July 29, here are nine things you may not have known about Di’s big day.

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1. She Spilled Perfume On Her Wedding Dress Right Before The Ceremony

Oops! According to Diana’s wedding day makeup artist, Barbara Daly, Diana accidentally left a spot of perfume on her gorgeous David and Elizabeth Emanuel wedding dress minutes before walking down the aisle. Per Daly, Diana was trying to dab some of her favorite scent, Quelques Fleurs, on her wrist when it spilled. With no time to spare, Diana had to think fast, which is why she covered the spot with her hand as she made her grand entrance.

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2. She Omitted The Word ‘obey’ From Her Vows

Diana was the first royal ever to do this. Instead, according to The New York Times, Diana would only promise to “love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health.” Modern bride? At the time, the Dean of Westminster Abbey said so, applauding the royal couple for making the vows more equal. Cooler still, Prince William and Kate Middleton took the same step—eliminating “obey” from their vows—when they got hitched in 2011.

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3. The Wedding Cost $48 Million…in 1981

But, according to Business Insider, when you adjust for inflation, that would clock in at $110 million today. Damn.

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4. There Was A Back-up Dress Waiting In The Wings

According to Elizabeth Emanuel, the media would stop at nothing to get an early look at Princess Diana’s wedding dress—the scoop of the century. As a result, they took several precautions…including dreaming up an alternate gown that was made from the same material, but more understated, just in case pics got out. (The Emanuels also famously ripped up dress sketches after showing them to Diana and installed a safe in their studio to hold fabric swatches and design details.)

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5. Her Bridal Shoes Held A Hidden Message

Not only were they adorned with 540 sequins and 130 pearls, they had a “C” and a “D” (for Charles and Diana) hand-painted on the soles. Awww.

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6. A Diamond-studded Horseshoe Was Sewn Into The Waistband Of Her Dress

It was for good luck, according to Princess Diana biographer Tina Brown.

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7. She Had A Rain Plan (just In Case)

The dress was made of a fairly lightweight fabric, meaning in the event of rain, it would be ruined, which worried the Emanuels. So, they decided to pick up a couple of parasols, then outfit them in both white and ivory fabric so that no one could guess the color of Diana’s dress in advance. Elizabeth Emanuel told The Daily Mail, “They were trimmed with the same lace as the dress and hand-embroidered with tiny pearls and sequins.” Luckily, they weren’t needed.

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8. There Was A Secret Wedding Registry

Sure, dignitaries and world leaders sent gifts of their own choosing, but for their friends, Diana and Charles set up a registry at General Trading Company, a fashionable store in Chelsea. Still, if anyone wanted to shop from it, they had to get pre-approval from Buckingham Palace. What was on it? According to Vanity Fair, garden furniture, a wine cooler and a pair of breakfast-in-bed trays.

9. She Bought Her Iconic Sapphire Ring From A Catalog

Yep, her 12-carat sapphire, encircled by 14 diamonds (and now worn by Kate Middleton), wasn’t custom-made as royal tradition typically dictates. Instead, it was selected from the Garrard jewelry collection catalog by Diana herself. How come? It reminded Diana of the wedding ring worn by her mother.

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Rachel Bowie

Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...
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