Excitement over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s big day has reached fever pitch. The two will tie the knot on May 19 at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and fans are living for each new detail of their venue, invitations, dress code and more (plus speculation on the bride’s gown and the couple’s guest list).
As royal watchers anticipate the year’s most exciting royal event, we’ve been reminiscing on past wedding days, from the Queen and Prince Philip’s ceremony right through to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s special moment. Click through to take a trip down memory lane.
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Most Beautiful Royal Weddings
Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, 1981
Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage sadly ended in divorce in 1996, but 15 years earlier, their wedding day was a true fairy tale. Diana was just 20 at the time, and became the first British citizen to marry an heir to the British throne in 300 years.
The couple said “I do” at St. Paul’s Cathedral with heads of state from all over the world in attendance, and the future princess wore a silk taffeta gown with a stunning 25-foot train. They celebrated their day with 27 wedding cakes, with the official cake standing over five-feet tall and topped off with roses, lilies of the valley and orchids.
Prince William and Kate Middleton, 2011
Like most British royals, the Cambridges followed tradition and said “I do” at Westminster Abbey. The wedding, on April 29, was a huge, televised affair, with a whopping 1,900 guests invited to the religious ceremony. Nearly 600 people were invited to an exclusive luncheon at Buckingham Palace, hosted by Her Majesty, Prince William’s grandmother. Then, around 300 of William and Kate’s closest friends and family members had the honour of celebrating the newlyweds at a lavish evening dinner.
Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly, 2008
Love knows no borders! Peter, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, said “I do” to Canadian-born Autumn at St. George Chapel’s on May 17 – just around the same date Meghan and Harry will do the same. Keeping in line with newlywed royal couples before them, Princess Anne’s son and his new wife left the church service together in an open topped carriage.
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, 2005
The Prince of Wales and the future Duchess of Cornwall walked down the aisle on April 9. The royals came together at Windsor Castle to celebrate their union, with crowds gathering excitedly on the street outside the chapel. Their pleasant civil ceremony took place at Windsor Guildhall in Berkshire. Though the nuptials were originally scheduled for April 8, the Prince had to represent the Queen last minute at the funeral of Pope John Paul II.
Princess Anne and Mark Phillips, 1973
The happy couple were pronounced husband and wife on Nov. 14 in Westminster Abbey. Only 26 years prior, the Abbey saw the nuptials of the bride’s mother and father, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Watched by an estimated 500 million television viewers around the world, the streets of London were crowded with royal watchers. Eventually, this day was named a national holiday!
Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, 1947
Easily one of the most famous of royal nuptials of all time was then-Princess Elizabeth’s wedding to her second cousin once removed, Philip, at Westminster Abbey on Nov. 20. The future queen was walked down the aisle by her father, King George VI, and she had eight bridesmaids, among them Princess Margaret, her younger sister, Princess Alexandra of Kent and Pamela Mountbatten. Of their special day, Pamela told The Telegraph: “Princess Elizabeth with her marvellous complexion and Prince Philip such a devastatingly handsome naval officer. He looked tender, she was adoring. They really were a dream couple.”
The morning of her wedding the bride’s Fringe Tiara snapped, and royal jewellers Garrard rushed to fix it in time for the ceremony, which was broadcast on BBC radio to 200 million people around the world. Following their “I dos,” the happy couple made their way to Buckingham Palace for a celebratory breakfast.
Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1960
Princess Margaret, sister to Queen Elizabeth II, was married to the handsome British photographer from 1960 to 1978, saying “I do” on May 6 at Westminster Abbey. Their nuptials were the first ever to be televised and attracted 300 million viewers worldwide. Upon marrying Margaret, Antony received the title Earl of Snowdon. The couple honeymooned in the Caribbean on a six-week cruise before settling down at Kensington Palace.
Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, 1986
They first met as childhood playmates before their acquaintance turned to love years later at a Royal Ascot party. Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson said “I do” on July 23 at Westminster Abbey, where the bride was clad in an embroidered ivory gown by Linda Cierach. The couple has since divorced in 1996, but that hasn’t stopped them from co-parenting their two daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and continuing to be famously close friends.
Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones, 1999
St George’s Chapel, where Prince Harry and Meghan will tie the knot, was host to the nuptials of the Queen’s son and public relations consultant Sophie Rhys-Jones, now known as Sophie, Countess of Wessex. They married on June 19 at Windsor Castle, and in a break with tradition they requested that their big day not be a state occasion. Their dress code was also of note as they requested evening gowns and said hats were not required. They are now parents to James, Viscount Severn, born in 2007, and Lady Louise Windsor, born in 2003.