There’s not long to go now until Britain comes to a standstill for the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, a ceremony that will garner headlines across the world and attract millions of viewers on Saturday 19th May. It won’t just be on television sets that the world will be watching, either; if next month’s nuptials follow the lead of William and Kate’s wedding seven years ago, you will also be able to catch a live stream on YouTube.
The sheer level of publicity generated by Harry and Meghan’s wedding, even several weeks and months out from the ceremony, is on a whole different scale to the royal weddings of previous generations, when live TV coverage still seemed something of a novelty. Indeed, when Prince Albert married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (the mother of Queen Elizabeth II) in 1923, the wedding was not even transmitted on radio, as the Archbishop of Canterbury abhorred the thought of men listening to the ceremony while drinking in pubs. Instead, a silent newsreel was compiled for screening in cinemas. In 2018, the idea of a very small snippet of a royal wedding being confined to cinema trailer time, and no further publicity, seems alien.
This infographic by Gear Jewellers in Ireland looks back on 100 years of British royal weddings, from the aforementioned 1923 ceremony to Harry and Meghan’s celebration next month. Some of the ceremonies were grand affairs, not least the ‘fairytale wedding’ of Prince Charles and the late Diana Spencer in 1981, while others tended to be quite sedate by royal standards, such as Charles’ second marriage 24 years later to Camilla Parker-Bowles which took place at a civil ceremony.
One thing that’s clear from the infographic is that, unfortunately, not all royal weddings fit the ‘happily ever after’ description. From 1960 to 1986, four consecutive royal marriages ended in divorce, while Camilla’s marriage to Charles was not met with universal acclaim as there were still ill-feelings towards her for allegedly meddling in Charles’ marriage to Diana in the 1990s – one which ended in divorce a year before Diana’s tragic death in Paris. However, as William and Kate proved when their childhood friendship blossomed into marriage, perhaps fairytale weddings can come true. Here’s to the happiness of Harry and Meghan – we can’t wait for 19th May!
Take a look at the evolution of the british royal wedding
An infographic by the team at Gear Jewellers