Britain's royal weddings past

19th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

British royal weddings have ranged in scale from huge events broadcast around the world to quiet events in intimate venues.

Prince William's April 29 marriage to Kate Middleton will be held at London's Westminster Abbey, where most of the big royal weddings of the past 60 years have taken place.

Here is a list of royal weddings during Queen Elizabeth II's reign, and what became of the marriages:

PRINCESS MARGARET and ANTONY ARMSTRONG-JONES

-- 1960, May 6, Westminster Abbey, London

Queen Elizabeth's sister was talked out of marrying equerry Peter Townsend in 1953, as he was a divorcee.

She married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was created Earl of Snowdon, in the first royal wedding to be broadcast on television. Their arty friends attended the ceremony.

They had two children, David, who became chairman of Christie's auction house, and painter Sarah.

Reports of numerous affairs first circled in 1966 and the couple drifted apart by the early 1970s and they divorced in 1978, when he remarried. Margaret died in 2002.

PRINCESS ANNE and MARK PHILLIPS

-- 1973, November 14, Westminster Abbey, London

Anne was the first of Queen Elizabeth's children to tie the knot, marrying army lieutenant Mark Phillips in an ceremony at Westminster Abbey that was filmed in colour and televised around the world.

Unusually, Phillips, an Olympic gold medal-winning equestrian, did not take a title and their two children, Peter and Zara Phillips, bear no titles. They divorced in 1992.

PRINCE CHARLES and LADY DIANA SPENCER

-- 1981, July 29, St Paul's Cathedral, London

Billed as the wedding of the century, the heir to the throne married Diana Spencer in a huge ceremony attended by royalty and heads of state from around the world. Britain had a national holiday and the event was broadcast live across the globe.

It was held at St Paul's Cathedral because it can hold more people than Westminster Abbey and allowed for a longer procession route.

Though not of royal blood, Diana was the daughter of an earl.

They had two children, Princes William and Harry, but separated in 1992 and divorced four years later. She was killed in a car crash in 1997.

PRINCE ANDREW and SARAH FERGUSON

-- 1986, July 23, Westminster Abbey, London

After Charles's wedding, all eyes were on Queen Elizabeth's second son, who married Sarah Ferguson, a commoner and the daughter of a major, five years later. The big-scale event followed the template set by Charles's wedding.

Andrew was created Duke of York. They have two children, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. They divorced in 1996 but remain close.

PRINCESS ANNE and TIMOTHY LAURENCE

-- 1992, December 12, Crathie Kirk, Balmoral

Anne became the first British royal divorcee to marry again since 1905. She wed Royal Navy commander Timothy Laurence in a low-key ceremony at the church used by the royals when they are at the sovereign's Balmoral estate in Scotland.

The Church of England did not allow divorced people to remarry in its churches, while the Church of Scotland did.

PRINCE EDWARD and SOPHIE RHYS-JONES

-- 1999, June 19, St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

Queen Elizabeth's youngest son Edward married public relations manager Sophie Rhys-Jones in a smaller-scale event than his brothers' weddings. He was given the title Earl of Wessex. They have two children.

PRINCE CHARLES and CAMILLA PARKER-BOWLES

-- 2005, April 9, Windsor Guildhall

After a long courtship in which Camilla Parker-Bowles was gradually accepted as the prince's partner, the couple married in the royal town of Windsor, in a low-key civil ceremony.

It was followed by a religious blessing at St George's Chapel in Queen Elizabeth's presence.

The wedding was to have taken place in Windsor Castle, but was switched to the town's Guildhall.

Both divorced, there was controversy over whether they could have had a church wedding, especially given Charles's future role as supreme governor of the Church of England.

The wedding was also delayed by a day to allow the prince to attend pope John Paul II's funeral.

PETER PHILLIPS and AUTUMN KELLY

-- 2008, May 17, St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

Queen Elizabeth's eldest grandchild Peter Phillips married Canadian management consultant Autumn Kelly in a low-key family wedding. She converted from Catholicism to Anglicanism to keep his 11th place in the line of succession to the throne.

Anne's son works for the Royal Bank of Scotland and carries out no royal duties.


© 2011 AFP

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