July 29, 2011

{30 Years Ago Today}

Thirty years ago today on July 29, 1981, a grand morning wedding in central London changed our world. The marriage of Lady Diana Frances Spencer and His Royal Highness Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, set off dazzling fireworks in all directions! It sparked:
~a royal soap-opera that was covered in the global media with fierce detail (sorta’ accurate but mostly not);
~the making of a princess superstar and a run on tiaras;
~a world-wide resurgence in the bridal industry and the creation of everyday “celebrity” weddings;
~a revolution in family life in the British monarchy as well as its dynastic protocol;
~it resurrected the constant use of the words "fairy tale" and upped the ante on “the princess myth.”

To note this pivotal wedding anniversary, today begins a series of posts—excerpts from my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride—that feature bits of its prologue and share my remembrances of that day: the wedding, the bride and its lasting effect on the world.~

The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride:
Princess Diana, the Princess Myth & a Royal Legacy for All Women 

Front Row to a Royal Wedding

O ceremony, show me but thy worth.
- William Shakespeare, Henry V

When it’s over, I want to say:
all my life I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
-Mary Oliver

In English tradition, wedding vows are a morning affair, and if we were to catch the first glimpse of the beautiful bride, we needed to be “front and center” very early. My friends and I were a little old for a slumber party, but as we gathered in our pajamas around 4 a.m. in front of my television in Atlanta, Georgia, the anticipation and giddiness was “ageless.”  It was July 29, 1981, and like millions of people around the world, we prepared to watch the royal wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles of England.

I had followed the news of the courtship, the surprise of the sapphire engagement ring, and the mystery around the gown for several months. And now, I was delighted to settle in with friends for a long morning of gala festivities with commentary from London by Jane Pauley of NBC, Barbara Walters of ABC, and guest host David Frost on CBS. Switching back and forth (pre-remote days) so not to miss a bit of pageantry!

We even had snacks to match the occasion: scones and fig jam, and Earl Grey tea with lemon—not only to feed our early morning hunger, but perhaps it was also to feed some inherent dreams of being a princess. ~

[The next part of the Prologue of The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride will be posted in a few days! To see all excerpts from the Prologue, click on "Prologue" in Labels list below.]

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