Moments At Royal Weddings That No One Will Forget

Royal weddings are major events. First, there's the routine stress of making sure the ceremony and reception not only accommodate guests, but are memorable for the right reasons. But for royal weddings, there's the diplomatic pressure as well as the pressure that comes with the whole world watching you. Princess Diana and Prince Charles' wedding still holds the Guinness World Record for the most-watched royal wedding in history, totaling in at a whopping 750 million viewers. That's more viewers than the Olympics and the Super Bowl combined.

For Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding, 29 million people tuned in, while Prince William and Kate Middleton's 2011 wedding brought 22.8 million watchers. Obviously, viewership has dwindled since the epoch of Diana and Charles, but not enough to eradicate the importance of these events. Just look at "The Crown": The fictionalized TV show about the British royal family opted out of recreating Charles and Diana's wedding because footage is so ubiquitous online. We're eating it up still, decades later.

The expectations are high for every detail involved in a royal wedding. Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon created disappointment when she walked out in a dress that The Times called "the simplest ever made for a royal wedding." The late Queen Elizabeth II, who died on September 8, 2022, had to use rationing coupons to create her dress because of war-torn Europe, but she still snuck in a little dazzle. We expect big, we expect glamorous, and with all that pressure, there are bound to be some notable moments.

How Kate Middleton's wedding hair broke royal tradition

Kate Middleton's wedding to Prince William on April 29, 2011, was not only the most exciting thing to happen to the royal family in decades — it was a fashion spectacle. Kate's dress had to follow the tradition begun by Queen Victoria that the fabric and the making of the dress all come from and occur in England, per Historic Royal Palaces. The dress was created by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and was top secret until the great reveal outside of Westminster Abbey.

While Kate's dress was an absolute marvel, it was actually her hair that caused a stir. The Duchess of Cambridge decided to wear her hair half up, half down in what her stylists artfully called a demi-chignon, per the Daily Mail. Why was it so shocking? Prior to, there had been a 350-year long tradition of royal brides wearing their hair up. In the documentary "William & Kate: The Journey" (via Marie Claire), reporter Ashley Pearson explained that Kate had to stand her ground. "Royal sources tell me that the royals indicated very strongly to Kate that they would prefer her to wear her hair up for this very special occasion," Pearson said. However, both Kate and William preferred her hair down and curled. "They ended up compromising on her look," Pearson said. To complete it, Kate's stylists created mood boards ahead of time to capture the correct look to go with the coveted Cartier Halo tiara, loaned to her by Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Elizabeth's tiara broke right before her wedding

There was major drama for Queen Elizabeth II on November 20, 1947. While prepping for her wedding to Prince Philip, Elizabeth's hairdresser was securing the Russian Fringe tiara loaned to her by her grandmother, Queen Mary when it broke, according to The Telegraph, with only hours to spare before the event. To make matters even more stressful, clips of their wedding were going to be televised that day — a monumental experience for that era — so visual perfection was everything.

Thanks to the fastidious preparation that goes into royal weddings, there was no need for a backup tiara or glue, nor would the ceremony be postponed. The royal jewelers, via police escort, whisked the broken headpiece away and put it back together in the nick of time. In a sort of charming touch, photographs from the day show that there's a slightly uneven gap between the highest point of the tiara and the second point. It just shows that even for royals, accidents happen.

The Garrard jewelry house later exhibited its guest book from 1947, according to Town & Country, showing that on November 11 of that year, Elizabeth's grandmother, mother, and sister, all accompanied the soon-to-be-bride for a special trip. The name of the occasion was "Queen Mary handed to Princess Elizabeth her Wedding Gifts of Jewels," as it was recorded in the book, where her grandmother handed off some of the most priceless jewelry in the world to her regal granddaughter.

Prince Harry's exes were at his wedding

Of all of the surprising guests at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding, his exes might have made the top of the list. Both Cressida Bonas and Chelsy Davy showed up, fascinators and all, for Harry and Meghan's big day at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018. The two women had major relationships with Harry. The Zimbabwean Chelsy Davy, whose father is billionaire Charles Davy, dated Harry from 2004 to 2010, according to The New York Times. Their relationship was on and off and they faced constant invasion of their privacy thanks to the media frenzy surrounding their relationship. Davy ended up finding the prospect of royal life unsavory, according to Express. She couldn't handle the scrutiny and pressure.

Bonas, the British actor, dated Harry from 2012 to 2014, according to Us Weekly. She also found the endless attention on Harry's life, including his relationship, too stressful. She knew that she would be scrutinized to death and it made her afraid. "The fear of failing, the fear of rejection, the fear of not getting it right, the fear of not being perfect.... I think that has limited me in certain situations in my life," Bonas admitted to The Daily Telegraph. For both of his exes, it was clear that there wasn't any envy at Harry's wedding. Nevertheless, some found the optics odd that they were there. But at least for Meghan, she didn't find it strange. The bride gave Davy a big hug at the reception.

Prince Charles walked Meghan Markle halfway up the aisle

Prince Charles hasn't always been the media's darling, certainly not when it comes to any conversation about Princess Diana. But when it came to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding day, Charles was the big hero. Thomas Markle, Meghan's dad, didn't attend the royal wedding because of reports of a heart attack that followed news that he posed for paparazzi for money.

This left Meghan in the lurch when it came to the tradition of being walked down the aisle. So Harry turned to his father for help. "I asked [Charles] to and I think he knew it was coming, and he immediately said 'Yes, of course, I'll do whatever Meghan needs and I'm here to support you,'" Harry told the BBC (via E! News). "For him that's a fantastic opportunity to step up and be that support, and you know he's our father so of course he's going to be there for us."

Author Robert Hardman wrote "Queen of Our Times: The Life of Elizabeth II" how Charles and Meghan came up with a compromise that worked for both of them. When Charles offered to step in for Meghan, she didn't just give a flat yes. "The reply, according to one friend, was not quite what he was expecting: 'Can we meet halfway?'" Hardman wrote (via Newsweek). So everyone got what they wanted. Meghan got to enter her wedding ceremony on her terms while Charles got the chance to step in for his son and daughter-in-law.

The Clooneys said they didn't know Harry and Meghan

There was a great hullabaloo about some of the A-list guests at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding. The star-studded guest list included David and Victoria Beckham, Priyanka Chopra, Serena Williams, according to Forbes. Idris Elba was there as was Oprah Winfrey, who would play a major role in their post-royal life. And of course, we can't forget about Amal and George Clooney.

The Clooneys' attendance drew some speculation after Carolyn Bartholomew, who was a dear friend to Princess Diana and godmother to Harry, told Air Mail that George and Amal admitted to her at the wedding that they didn't actually know the royal couple. Naturally, people began to wonder if the event was more of a Hollywood who's who than an actual gathering of friends and family.

 At an AFI event a few weeks later, Access asked the Clooneys to shed some light on their connection to Sussexes, to which George deadpanned, "I can't tell you that. ... I am not allowed to," he said. (It worth noting the "Michael Clayton" actor is a notorious jokester.) What's more, a source told E! News the year of the wedding, "[The Clooneys, Meghan, and Harry] have been friends for more than two years." Oh, and a rep for the Clooneys apparently told Express they did not say they did not know the royals at the wedding. So make of all that what you will.

Reverend Michael Bruce Curry used an iPad

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding made headlines for the very impassioned sermon delivered by the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry. The clergyman hit a historic record as the first American preacher to ever speak at a royal wedding, per "Good Morning America." Curry's sermon was a vibrant meditation on the healing power of love, but his delivery might have been a bit more dynamic than many of the British guests expected. Twitter got all over it, sharing screenshots of Elton John and Zara Tindall appearing to be shocked in their pews. "The Most Reverend Curry doing his damnedest to try and make these Brits feel ANYTHING," someone tweeted during the sermon.

To make matters even more untraditional, Curry delivered his sermon from an iPad, a charming departure from the antiquity of St. George's Chapel. The first Black presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States later told "Good Morning America" how significant Harry and Meghan's wedding was. "Their love was a sign of God's love and what that love can do in our lives," he said. "It brought together our African heritage, our British heritage, our American heritage." He also laughed about the fact that he thought it was a joke when they first asked him. "I didn't believe it because a member of my staff called and said, 'They'd like you to preach at the royal wedding,'" he said. "I said, 'Get out of here; it's April Fools. You've got to be kidding me.'"

Prince Harry flouts tradition with his wedding ring

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding created a lot of headlines, to say the least. This particular story involves jewelry, namely Harry's. Now, it's a royal tradition that the groom does not wear a wedding ring. The late Prince Philip didn't wear a wedding band, whereas, according to "Prince Philip Revealed," Queen Elizabeth II wears a classic Welsh gold ring that has a private inscription. 

Prince William also opted out of wearing a wedding band, according to the Daily Mail. He also doesn't wear a signet ring, a piece of jewelry that typically depicts one's affiliation to a title or family crest. Prince Charles has made his own variation on the tradition by wearing his wedding band from wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, on his pinkie finger, behind his signet ring. So clearly, there are many different configurations of how royal men work with the tradition of the wedding ring.

However, Harry decided to wear a wedding band on his left ring finger. While Meghan's wedding ring is made of Welsh gold, typical of the royal style, Harry's is made of platinum, as noted in Vogue. Royal correspondent Penny Junor told the outlet, "I think it shows, as if proof were needed, that Harry is the least conventional member of the Royal Family," she said. "Harry's chosen to do what most married men do today."

Diana mixed up Charles' name during her vows

Princess Diana and Prince Charles married at St. Paul's Cathedral with Diana sporting a train that was over 25 feet long. Clearly, there was nothing minimal about this big day. That said, they didn't exactly get hitched without a hitch. With millions watching, Diana made a little jumble of her wedding vows to Charles. Robert Runcie, the Archbishop of Canterbury, asked Diana to repeat the following: "I, Diana Frances, take thee Charles Philip Arthur George." However, Diana jumbled up two of the four names. "I, Diana Frances, take thee Philip Charles Arthur George," she said. Given all of the eyes that were on her that day, we've gotta cut the princess some slack for that switcheroo. 

But it wasn't just Diana who mixed up a few key words during the ceremony. The BBC pointed out that Charles also made a fumble. "Wedding day nerves were apparent during the ceremony," the outlet noted. "The groom referred to 'thy goods' rather than 'my worldly goods.'"

That's not even the end of it. As History recapped, the two totally skipped right past the kiss at the end of their ceremony. Charles and Diana eventually exchanged a post-ceremony smooch on the balcony, a move that ended up becoming a new royal wedding tradition. While all of these mishaps sure made for an entertaining event, they seemingly foreshadowed the pair's marital drama.

Kate Middleton's ring didn't quite fit

There was a funny little moment during Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding where William struggled to get Kate's wedding band on her finger. Knowing how fastidiously planned royal weddings are, why on earth didn't Kate's ring fit properly? It turns out, according to the Daily Mail, that Kate ordered a size too small because she lost weight before the wedding and had a request for the jeweler. "Kate asked Wartski, who made the ring, to make it a size smaller so it didn't slip off," an insider told the Daily Mail.

Kate's wedding band followed the tradition of being made of Welsh gold and the source of this gold is steeped in family tradition. Per the BBC, Elizabeth Bowes Lyon and George VI used a gift of Clogau gold, mined in North Wales. The same lump of gold created wedding bands for Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, and Princess Diana. Ahead of their wedding, the palace confirmed the gold used in Kate's ring was indeed Welsh. "The gold was given to Prince William by The Queen shortly after the couple were engaged," the statement read. 

While the little sizing gaffe did create brief moment of light drama during the ceremony, . "It has now become a subject of amusement to her and William," an insider told the Daily Mail. Whatever the size of the ring, it's clear the two of them are the perfect fit.

Prince Charles and Camilla renounced their sins

In one of the more curious traditions at Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles' wedding, the couple publicly renounced their sins. Following the Book of Common Prayer from 1662, according to CNN, the couple said aloud, "We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, by thought, word and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us."

The very intense public prayers were, at least partially, said because the couple had an extramarital affair while Charles was still married to Princess Diana, a choice that plagued them for years into their relationship, due to the public's allegiance to Diana.

Their wedding, held on April 9, 2005, was unconventional for a number of reasons. They had to push it back by a day because Pope John Paul II had died on April 2 of that year and Charles had to go to the funeral on April 8 as a stand-in for Queen Elizabeth II, according to Express. They also broke with royal tradition by having a civil service first, since both Charles and Camilla had been previously married, and they followed this with a religious service at St George's Chapel. The queen and Prince Philip opted out of the civil ceremony but attended the religious one. The queen also hosted a wedding reception for the couple. The wedding also steered clear of the typical fanfare of a royal wedding and kept to a more subdued theme.

The cloud over Princess Beatrice's wedding

Princess Beatrice married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi on July 17, 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Typical of weddings from that time, the couple had to postpone and make do with what they could, while adhering to health guidelines. As such, they had a secret wedding with only 20 guests, per the Daily Mail, and had to keep their distance during the celebration, so it certainly lacked the pomp and circumstance of other royal weddings.

Beatrice did several things differently. For starters, the dress she wore wasn't originally a wedding dress. As People reported, she borrowed a gown Queen Elizabeth II wore to various events in the '60s. Beatrice also borrowed the famous Russian Fringe tiara that the queen wore on her wedding day to Prince Philip, the same one that snapped during its fitting right before the nuptials. On top of that, Beatrice opted out of the Welsh gold wedding band, favored by royal brides before her, including Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. Instead, Beatrice wore a wedding band made by jeweler Shaun Leane.

While she did things differently, what made Beatrice's wedding so notable was her father, Prince Andrew, who was in the midst of legal turmoil due to his connection to Jeffrey Epstein and the sexual abuse allegations made by Virginia Giuffre in 2019. Andrew walked Beatrice down the aisle but he was notably absent from any formal wedding photos that day, noted the Daily Mail, creating an "elephant in the room" situation that distracted from the happy couple.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Why was Princess Charlene crying on her wedding day?

Taking a break for a moment from British royals, let's jump down to Monaco to check out the wedding between Prince Albert, son of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, to South African Olympian swimmer, Charlene Wittstock, making her the princess consort of Monaco. The wedding held up to expectations of a lavish, royal gathering. The extravagant extravaganza went on for three days and cost $55 million, according to ABC News, but it wasn't a totally joyous event. 

They married on July 2, 2011, but right before the big day, rumors broke that Albert had sired a child and Charlene was concerned that it had happened during their relationship, according to the Daily Mail. Albert, often called the "Playboy Prince," was already father to two other children, but since they weren't conceived in marriage, they had no legitimate claims to the throne. Charlene reportedly fled to the airport three times in the weeks leading up to her wedding, in an attempt to fly back home to South Africa. The day of the wedding, the bride was caught on camera visibly weeping.

During the ceremony, Charlene was seen wiping away tears, according to The Guardian, expressing emotion that looked closer to grief than joy. To make matters even more uncomfortable, as ABC News noted, Charlene visibly pulled away when Albert leaned in to kiss her, and he eventually had to ask if he could kiss her. Sheesh, sounds like a rough day.

Diana spilled perfume on her wedding dress

In the hectic preparation ahead of her wedding to Prince Charles, a 20-year-old Princess Diana accidentally spilled perfume on her wedding dress. Diana's makeup artist, Barbara Daly, was there on the job to get Diana ready for her wedding when, as Daly said in "Diana: The Portrait," the bride unintentionally dumped a significant amount of her favorite fragrance on her historic gown. The fragrance was Quelques Fleurs by French perfumer Houbigant. Daly said she encouraged Diana to cover the front of her dress with her hand as she walked.

Diana's dress was another topic of surprise on her wedding day, by none other than the actual dressmakers. Designers Elizabeth and David Emanuel, a husband and wife duo, were given the commission of designing the princess' dress and Elizabeth later admitted that she was devastated when she saw Diana get out of the car at St. Paul's Cathedral. The reason? Diana's dress became horribly wrinkled in transit. "We did know it would crease a bit but when I saw her arrive at St Paul's and we saw the creasing I actually felt faint," Elizabeth admitted on ITV's "Invitation to the Royal Wedding" (via Mirror). "I was horrified, really, because it was quite a lot of creasing." In spite of the perfume spill and the wrinkles, Diana still looked like a dream come true.