The Royal Wedding Tradition That Started with Diana and Charles

It’s hard to believe that today marks 41 years since Princess Diana and Prince Charles said “I do” in a ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral that was attended by 3500 people and viewed by a global audience of 750 million. (We’re reminiscing about the occasion in full on this week’s episode of the Royally Obsessed podcast.) Of course, the pressure was on and a number of slip-ups occurred—most famously, Diana reversed Charles’s name in her vows, but also the fact that she accidentally spilled a splash of perfume on her dress.

diana and charles balcony kiss
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Still, there was another “oops” moment that set off a new royal wedding tradition that would be replicated by generations to come: Charles forgot to kiss Diana at the altar, which led the pair to make up for it later on the Buckingham Palace balcony, where they exchanged a public kiss much to the delight of their fans.

prince andrew sarah ferguson balcony kiss
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Fast forward to 1986 when Prince Andrew (who is now disgraced) and Sarah Ferguson followed suit, exchanging a kiss on the Buckingham Palace balcony after marrying at Westminster Abbey.

prince william and kate middleton balcony kiss
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Then, in 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton mimicked Diana and Charles’s iconic move not once, but twice, in the same spot. (Shout out to the ever-adorable—and meme-worthy—Grace van Cutsem for stealing the spotlight.)

meghan markle and prince harry wedding kiss
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Of course, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also exchanged a kiss post-ceremony in front of their adoring fans, replicating the tradition in 2019. The only difference was that it wasn’t atop the Buckingham Palace balcony as they chose to wed at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle instead.

Ah, royal romance. In the case of Diana and Charles, it definitely wasn’t a fairy tale in the end, but at the time, it sure looked like one.

For more about the royals, listen to the Royally Obsessed podcast with co-hosts Rachel Bowie and Roberta Fiorito. Subscribe now or follow us on Instagram @royallyobsessedpodcast.

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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...