As the countdown continues for Prince William’s own wedding, royal wedding enthusiasts anxiously await to see what Kate Middleton will wear. As was the same for Princess Diana’s wedding in 1980. What the world didn’t know was that there was a dress on reserve just in case Diana’s dress was revealed before the big day.
Dress designer Elizabeth Emanuel wanted to ensure that the dress would remain a surprise. The dress of the was made of ivory silk taffeta and ruffles was never completely finished.
Diana had seen one of the blouses David and Elizabeth Emanuel had designed and asked them to do some wedding dress sketches. The dress was made out of cream silk taffeta with bows, laces and pearl details. There were six different fabrics — 25 yards of silk taffeta, 100 yards of tulle crinoline and 150 yards for the veil; and 10,000 mother-of-pearl sequins. Her train was a mere 25 feet, something that would stand out in St. Paul’s Cathedral; her veil totaled to 26 feet.
The dress cost a cool $13,000.
Diana arrived at St. Paul’s Cathedral in a glass coach, escorted by five mounted military police officers. The carriage was too small to comfortably hold her father and her dress and train.
The walk up to the red-carpeted aisle took three-and-a-half minutes.
St. Paul’s Cathedral was the venue of choice because it offered more seating than Westminster Abbey. An estimated 3,500 attended the ceremony, while 750 million watched from their living rooms.
During the ceremony, Diana’s nerves got the best of her when he mixed up Charles’ names — calling him Philip Charles Arthur George, rather than Charles Philip.
After the ceremony they returned to dinner at Buckingham Palace. They appeared on the palace’s balcony to greet their people and finally shared a kiss as husband and wife.
Diana and Charles had 27 wedding cakes, but the main five tiered masterpiece was created by David Avery, the head baker at the Royal Navy cooking school (chosen because of Charles’ naval background). The cake took 14 weeks to make, the bottom layer took 12 hours alone to bake. Avery and his crew made two cakes just in case something happened to the other.
The traditional English wedding cake was wrapped with royal icing and decorated with the Windsor royal coat of arms made from marzipan. Avery made the cake with nuts, raisins, dried fruit and brandy; he recalls “just preparing and soaking the fruit took three days alone.”
You can view the recipe here