February 24th 1981 was the date when the world became aware of Lady Diana Spencer – the future Princess Diana that we all came to know.
Prince Charles, the heir to the British Throne had proposed marriage to this relatively unknown 19 year old and suddenly, the media spotlight was on Diana. In reality, the spotlight never left her and she lived the rest of her life surrounded by photographers and flash bulbs – the paparazzi were always around to record everything that she did and bring it to the public’s attention. Princess Diana became public property.
At the time of the engagement, little was known of Lady Diana Spencer. Until then, the attention of the Press had been focused on a group of European princesses and members of the British nobility as potential wives to the heir of the throne. Somehow, Diana had slipped through under the radar, to find that she had become the center of the world’s attention.
At the outset, the engagement appeared to be like a modern day fairy tale: a prince marrying a young “princess”. Photographs of the couple showed a shy young girl in a blue dress matching her eyes and the dazzling blue sapphire ring on her finger.
There was much excitement about the forthcoming wedding on 29th July. People and the Press speculated about who would be making the wedding dress, what the royal procession would be like, and who would be attending.
Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding ceremony, at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, took center stage in all the world’s media. Watched by an estimated worldwide television audience of 75,000,000, the spectacular wedding met everyone’s expectations for the perfect fairytale day.
It was the wedding of the century, attended by guests from all the Royal houses of Europe. Princess Diana looked breathtakingly beautiful in a magnificent ivory taffeta and antique lace wedding dress, with a flowing 25 foot train, that had been created by a relatively unknown British designer couple, called David and Elizabeth Emmanuel.
As Princess Diana stepped out from her carriage and walked slowly down the aisle of St Paul’s Cathedral to become a Princess, little did she know that in years to come she would, through her kindness and charity, be called “The People’s Princess”.