Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Charles and Diana kiss

with 9 comments

Every young girl dreams of marrying a prince and on July 29th 1981, one shy 20-year old from an aristocratic but dysfunctional family was given a chance to prove this dream was unsustainable. When Lady Diana Spencer wed Charles, Prince of Wales in the Westminster Abbey, 100 million people tuned in for the ceremony dubbed by the media as ‘a fairy-tale wedding’.

During the ceremony, Diana fumbled her husband’s name and refused to say the word “obey,” in what was perhaps a harbinger for the ensuring marriage that could only be described as awkward. Charles forgot to kiss Diana after the vows, and when they returned to the Buckingham Palace, the royal couple emerged on the balcony to give the crowds the kiss they had been longing to see (before disappearing for the official wedding photos session by Lord Snowden, royal breakfast and honeymoon). As the Guardian later reflected, “Diana’s strangely awkward wedding kiss, with a seemingly ill-at-ease Charles, turned out to be more telling of their future relationship than the smile and excitement of Diana the blushing bride.” Neither the history’s most impulsive nor its most passionate kiss, the photo was to become the iconic image of the day.

Before he chose Diana, Charles had been rejected by three women (Lady Jane Wellesley, Amanda Knatchbull and Anna Wallace), while he remained devoted to an married woman (Camilla Parker-Bowles). Both Charles and Diana found it hard to abandon their pre-conjugal lifestyles: for Charles, it was adventurous sportsmanship, and for Diana, it was the carefree spirit of her teen years.

The birth of two children didn’t mellow the couple; a series of domestic and international embarrassments (a tell-tale book, “Squidgy”, Taj Mahal incident, the spurned polo kiss) were only to be coupled by their respective adulteries. Finally in 1992 came much-speculated separation. The rest, as they say, was history.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

April 21, 2010 at 8:03 am

Posted in Society

Tagged with ,

9 Responses

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  1. Wonderfully assessed and written.


    September 5, 2010 at 8:09 am

  2. Charles and Diana were not married at Westminster Abbey, they were married at St Paul’s cathedral. Diana didn’t want to be married at Westminster because her parents had be married there. A marrage that ended in divorce.


    April 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    • I always thought it was because Lord Mountbattan had his funeral in Westminster.

      Michele Jaffe

      April 30, 2011 at 12:50 am

    • No, Because there had to be so many people invited to the wedding and Westminster Abbey couldn’t hold them all.


      July 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    • It was Charles who decided they married in St. Paul’s as it holds more people and there is no choir screen dividing the nave.

      Pauline O' Donovan

      October 30, 2012 at 12:05 am

  3. He did not forget to kiss her, “You may kiss the bride.” is not part of the Anglican church’s wedding ceremony.


    April 23, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    • Yes! In the Anglican church, it is not part of the wedding ceremony to kiss. Only in America, as they say.


      April 30, 2011 at 4:43 pm

  4. […] Castle in flames.  At 12 blocks high, the structure trembled as the last piece, an image of the fleeting wedding kiss between Charles and Diana, was added to it… eventually it tumbled down after a few seconds.  I don’t know where this […]

    • This was Windsor Castle which had a big fire in November. No wonder the Queen described 1992 as her Annus Horribilis……

      Pauline O' Donovan

      October 30, 2012 at 12:06 am

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