BY MEL BONDFIELD
While Harry and his bride-to-be, Meghan, prepare to walk down the aisle, we're taking a walk down memory lane. Join us as we revisit a few memorable collection moments to celebrate our connection with the Royal family and their weddings.
Princess Anne's Daring Design
Turning back the clock to 1977, the Silver Jubilee year of Queen Elizabeth II, and Australia's royal watchers were treated to a world first. The Royal Silver Jubilee Exhibition Train, a mobile museum, visited 26 Australian towns over four months, carrying over $100 million worth of royal treasures. A highlight of the exhibition was the gown worn by Princess Anne when she married Captain Mark Phillips in 1973.
The gown was considered to be at the cutting edge of fashion in the early 1970s and was definitely a drawcard for visitors to the exhibition.
Royal Wedding Fever Hits Australia
As Charles and Diana prepared to take the plunge in 1981, Australia was struck with a serious case of royal wedding fever. On the job was our very own 1980s fashionista and social commentator, the extraordinary Jeanne Little, who appeared on The Mike Walsh Show to present the latest royal wedding merchandise, including some items that must be seen to be believed.
The Wedding That Stopped A Nation
In 1981 Australian TV audiences tuning into Ten's Eyewitness News, carrying the BBC's feed, were treated to these pictures of Diana's carriage arriving at St Paul's Cathedral, her long walk down the aisle and, of course, that silk gown with its eight-metre train.
An estimated 750 million people worldwide watched Charles and Diana say ‘I do’ and it is still the second-highest rated TV broadcast in Australia, outranking the 2000 Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2011.
Looking at this footage 37 years on, we can note the clockwork precision of the procession, the detailed BBC commentary as the pictures went live, the carefully planned camera angles along the route and inside St Paul's Cathedral that captured its grandeur and the close-up shots of the smiling bride. It is impossible to view any Royal family wedding without comparing it to Charles and Diana's, such has it become part of our collective memory.
So in honour of Harry and Meghan tying the knot, you’re invited to enjoy our curated collection celebrating The Royal Family in Australia, including images, audio recordings and rarely-seen footage.