Where did Prince Charles and Princess Diana get married?

They got married on 29 July 1981.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on their wedding day
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It was a fairytale wedding watched by an estimated 750 million people, but where did Prince Charles and Princess Diana get married?

It's safe to say that Princess Diana's life changed forever when she met Prince Charles - now King Charles III - in 1977, and the young princess born into a noble family went on to become one of the most photographed and adored public figures of the 20th century, remaining in the public eye long after she and Prince Charles separated and divorced.

A royal bride with a difference, Princess Diana married her childhood crush in a spectacular London venue that broke with centuries of royal tradition. We look back on that special day and the stunning location more than four decades later...

Where did Prince Charles and Princess Diana get married? 

Prince Charles and his bride Lady Diana Spencer got married at St Paul’s Cathedral, an Anglican cathedral in central London. In a break from tradition, the royal couple shunned the usual royal wedding location of Westminster Abbey, where the Queen and Prince Philip wed

The reason for this decision is said to be because St Paul’s offered more seating for their guests. The venue can seat up to 3,500, whereas Westminster Abbey only seats 2,000. According to the official St Paul’s website, Charles and Diana were on a "mission to become the people’s Prince and Princess", and therefore the wedding needed to be a spectacle.

An aerial view of St Paul's Cathedral with crowds outside, shortly after the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Indeed, England was abuzz with royal wedding fever for months leading up to the big day, and many members of the public made their way to the location to catch a glimpse of the historic moment. It's reported that 600,000 people lined the streets of London on the day itself, while 750 million people in 74 countries watched on TV.

"People had been camping along the route for several days beforehand," says Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty Magazine, who counts himself as one of them.

"There was a rehearsal at St Paul's and on the eve of the wedding, there was a big fireworks display in Hyde Park and there were tens of thousands of people at that. So, it was a huge thing, which so many people wanted to take a personal part in and to be there."

The only other royal couple to tie the knot at St Pauls was King Henry VII’s son Prince Arthur and his bride Princess Catherine in 1501.

When did Prince Charles and Princess Diana get married? 

Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married on Wednesday 29 July 1981. The royal couple wasted no time in becoming husband and wife, marrying 5 months on from their engagement and just one year after they first began dating - though they had known each other since 1977.

Princess Diana's father John, the 8th Earl Spencer, escorted his nervous-looking daughter up the altar of St Paul's Cathedral, while Diana's bridal party remained close-by.

Her five bridesmaids included Princess Margaret's 17-year-old daughter Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones (now Chatto), who was the eldest of the group. Meanwhile, five-year-old Clementine Hambro - great-granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill - was the youngest bridesmaid on the day. 

She was a pupil at the kindergarten where Diana had worked as a nursery teacher prior to her wedding, and young Clementine received plenty of attention later that day, when a photographer captured Diana famously scooping her up after she banged her head and was crying at the Buckingham Palace reception.

Princess Diana and her bridesmaids on the Buckingham Palace balcony

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As for the groomsmen, Prince Charles enlisted his brothers Prince Andrew and Prince Edward for support.

It's safe to say that nerves got to the couple when it came to exchanging their vows. Diana got the order of Charles' names mixed up, saying "Philip Charles Arthur George" instead of the correct "Charles Philip Arthur George", whilst her husband said "thy worldy goods" instead of "my worldly goods".

Despite this, the crowds gathered outside St Paul's erupted into cheers when Diana said "I will" take Charles to be her partner.

Following the ceremony, the then Prince of Wales and his new wife returned to Buckingham Palace along with 120 guests for a wedding breakfast. Just after 1pm, the newlyweds appeared on the famous balcony for their first public kiss as husband and wife.

Charles and Diana kissing on their wedding day

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Princess Diana’s wedding dress 

Princess Diana's wedding dress designers were Welsh fashion designer David Emanuel and his then wife Elizabeth. According to the Emanuels, their brief was to create "something that was going to go down in history, but also something that Diana loved". 

Diana’s wedding dress took five months to make and was made from ivory silk taffeta and embroidered with 10,000 mother-of-pearl sequins and pearls. Consisting of a fitted bodice and puffed sleeves, Diana’s dress included multiple layers of tulle under the skirt, and her 125-yard veil and 25-foot train were some of the longest in royal history. 

Because of its length, Diana’s train was crushed when trying to fit into the glass coach that took her to the cathedral, causing wrinkles in the train and dress that were visible when she arrived. 

Time magazine called the dress one of the 'Most Influential British Wedding Dresses of All Time'. It reportedly cost £11,000 to make, and in 2019 it was re-valued as a whopping £151,000.

Following Princess Diana's death, her dress became the possession of Prince William and Prince Harry. Previously, royal fans were able to see the gown and Princess Diana's iconic honeymoon dress in an exhibition at Kensington Palace, 'Royal Style in the Making', which closed on January 2, 2022.

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Did the Queen attend Charles and Diana's wedding?

Yes, the late Queen Elizabeth II did attend Prince Charles and Diana's wedding. She was one of 3,500 guests at St Paul's and was accompanied to the venue by her husband Prince Philip.

Other royals in attendance included the Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth's sister, Princess Margaret, while another infamous wedding guest was Prince Charles' second wife, now Camilla, Queen Consort.

As Prince Charles was heir to the throne in the royal line of succession at the time - and is now king - the wedding itself was deemed a "state occasion". This meant that many foreign heads of state were invited to the nuptials, which no doubt explains why the guest list was so big.

How much did Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cost?

Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cost an estimated £57 million. As British royal weddings go, it currently holds the record for being the most expensive in history. As is royal tradition in Britain, taxpayers contributed to the cost of the wedding. And it’s thought that security alone cost up to £20 million.

More than 2,000 police officers were on duty for the event, which included a two-mile procession route. Armed police disguised as footmen travelled with the Queen and Prince Charles, while helicopters hovered overhead. 

St Paul’s was searched by police and sniffer dogs, for potential explosives, while anybody using the cathedral up to a fortnight before the wedding were vetted by officers, adding to the eye-watering security cost. 

Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle is next on the list of most expensive British royal weddings, costing around £32m in 2018. Whilst Charles and Diana's eldest son William and Kate Middleton’s wedding clocked in at £30m in 2011. 

One large expense of Charles and Diana's wedding was the wedding cake. The royal couple had an astonishing 27 wedding cakes for their big day and the official cake, which was made by then head baker of the Royal Naval Cookery School, David Avery, stood over five-feet tall.

The main cake featured sentimental touches like Charles' coat of arms, Diana's family crest and the letters 'C' and 'D'. It was finished with roses, lilies of the valley and orchids.

Princess Diana's wedding cake

Credit: Getty

When did Prince Charles and Diana get engaged? 

Charles and Diana got engaged on 24 February 1981. They first met met on a hunting weekend at Diana's family's country estate, Althorp House in Northamptonshire, in 1977.

After being introduced by Diana’s sister, Sarah, Charles and Diana didn’t see each other again until 1980, when they were both invited to stay at Philip de Pass' house in Sussex. 

During a conversation with her speech coach, used in the documentary Diana: In Her Own Words, Princess Diana is quoted as saying, "He’d just broken up with his girlfriend and his friend Mountbatten had just been killed. I said it would be nice to see him.

"We were talking about Mountbatten and his girlfriend and I said, 'You must be so lonely. It’s pathetic watching you walking up the aisle with Mountbatten’s coffin in front, ghastly, you need someone beside you'. Whereupon he leapt upon me and started kissing me and I thought, urgh, this is not what people do. And he was all over me for the rest of the evening, following me around like a puppy."

After that meeting it’s thought most of Charles and Diana’s courtship took place over the phone. In fact, they only met in person 13 times before the now monarch popped the question.

Princess Diana's engagement gift - a silver Ghia saloon car - fetched £52,000 at an auction in 2021. Diana used it for years to watch Prince Charles play at Polo, but the car was used less when William came along in 1982.

How old were Prince Charles and Princess Diana when they got married?

Charles was 32-years-old when he married a 20-year-old Princess Diana. Speaking of meeting Diana, Charles once said, "I remember thinking what a very jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old she was. I mean, great fun, and bouncy and full of life and everything."

However, Charles was much younger when he is said to have made his first proposal to Amanda Knatchbull (Lord Mountbatten's daughter), years prior. A Channel 4 documentary called The Royal House of Windsor claimed that Lord Mountbatten tried to set the pair up, but Lady Amanda turned him down. She married Charles Vincent Ellingworth in 1987 and the couple have three children together.

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Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.