27 04 2011

It was on the 29th of July 1981, when the 19 year old Lady Diana Spencer and the 32 year old Prince Charles, walked down the aisle in St Paul’s Cathedral London, in what was claimed to be the wedding of the 20th century. But as we all know, that fairytale crumbled in divorce. Diana produced two male heirs, Princes William and Harry, and the former takes his walk down the aisle to marry Kate Middleton in two days’ time.

These are my memories of those eventful 1981 nuptials. I was 7 years old and in Grade 2 at the time, or Sub B, as we older generation South Africans used to call it. Good gracious, that was 30 years ago! I was royally mad, a complete royalist, even at that young age. Every picture of Diana that I could find was pasted in my royal scrap book. Sometimes, my mother couldn’t afford to buy me Pritt, so I used grape flavoured bubblegum to stick the pictures down. Come to think of it, every time I opened that scrap book, it reeked of grapes. What a pity that with all the moving I’ve done in my life that my beloved royal scrap book went missing.

Back to that 1981 afternoon… my granny, mother and I gathered around our black and white television to watch a worldwide event that was coming to us live. The anticipation of seeing Diana’s wedding dress was so huge and the gasps of amazement when her elongated train was revealed, as she stepped out of the carriage, could be heard by women globally.

The Emmanuel designed wedding dress was the most beautiful gown I had ever seen in my 7 years of existence. The layers of organza, the frills, the poofy sleeves… Diana really did look like the personification of a fairytale princess.

Diana's wedding dress with long train

Later in the day, the royal public kiss on the balcony concluded what I imagined to be the most watched wedding in history. That is surely to be surpassed on Friday, 29 April 2011, when Kate and William say “I do.” And my now 37 year old self, will be watching just as enthusiastically as I did when I was 7 years old!

Congratulations William and Kate!




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