How Kate and William’s Royal Wedding compares with Charles and Diana’s big day


As Kate Middleton walked up the seemingly endless aisle at Westminster Abbey in her stunning white dress and 2.7 metre train, millions will have remembered another young bride making a very similar journey 30 years ago. Princess Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles also gripped the nation, and many will have recognised similarities in everything from the red carpets the brides walked down to the way the couples waved to their supporters from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. But there were also some notable differences.
Tell-tale signs perhaps showed that there was trouble ahead for Diana and Charles, while Kate and William clearly proved they are meant for each other. As Charles and Diana left St Paul’s Cathedral, they both looked away from each other and towards their crowds of supporters. In contrast, the newly wed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge could not keep their eyes off each other as they stepped out of Westminster Abbey. The similarities definitely outweighed the differences though and it was touching to see that William and Kate had looked to his parents’ wedding for inspiration. The bridesmaids at both weddings were dressed in white, wearing crowns of flowers in their hair.
Both fathers looked proud and composed as they led their daughters up the aisle and both couples smiled as they took their first strolls as man and wife back towards the doors of their respective churches. Diana and Kate’s dresses were very, very different – Diana’s Eighties number looks very dated – but both featured nipped in waists that showed off the brides’ svelte figures, and both women wore impressive tiaras. Kate looked much more at ease as she led her husband’s hand while they walked out of the Abbey.
Diana, on the other hand, had her arm limply linked through Charles’. The photographs of the balcony scenes at Buckingham Palace look as similar as those from the wedding ceremonies. But when you compare the scenes, telling differences emerge. Diana clearly leaned in towards Charles when she kissed him in front of crowds of fans. But the initiative came from Prince William this time, with him suggesting both the first and second kisses – and his wife happily obliging. As the couple stepped back into the palace they gave a wave to the crowds that was almost identical to the one William’s parents gave 30 years before them. Only the newlyweds were standing much closer together the second time around.
Perhaps the starkest example of the differences between the two couples, though is in their official engagement photos. Both the brides to be wore blue – to match the same ring they wore on their wedding ring finger. But Charles and Diana looked much more uneasy than William and Kate who were both grinning for the cameras. Some similarities between the two wedding were just a result of both couples following age-old traditions. Both wedding cakes, for example, were white, tiered and very elaborate. But Prince William said as soon as he got engaged that he would find ways to make it feel like his mother was by his side at his wedding – and taking inspiration from the ceremony she chose was a very touching tribute.