Charles and Diana's Wedding

Wednesday 30 April 2008 9:00pm – 10:00pm

1981: Di & Charles’ Wedding on July 29th sees the wedding the whole world has been waiting for – Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles. 750 million people around the world make this the most watched TV event in history.

The night before the big day a party of ladies from Liverpool boarded a coach London to soak up a little more than the atmosphere. Friends Sandra Astles and Beryl Brown remember the champagne breakfast on arrival and the electric atmosphere as they awaited the soon to be passing wedding procession on the streets of London.

Back in Liverpool, the night before the wedding the Toxteth riots raged on. In the weeks running up to Charles and Diana’s big day 500 of the stop and search protestors had been arrested and 450 police officers injured. PC Steve Richards recalls the nightmare of the night of the 28th of June as youths of all races clashed with the Merseyside force. He was repeatedly battered, sustained a head injury and feared for his life as petrol bombs were launched at police. Counting himself lucky Steve was not seriously injured he remembers settling down on the sofa with his wife to watch the big day unfold.

Mountaineer Harish Kohli was attempting the longest traverse across the Himalayas – 8000km. Despite his remote location he was able to hear of the wedding taking place via a small battery powered transistor radio. He made sure his team set out early the day of the 29th to reach their destination plateau just in time to listen to the ceremony. Harish remembers their dangerous descent as an avalanche struck.

Lloyd Coxone, a Brixton local and record shop owner, united his community on the day of the royal wedding. Six months previously the streets of Brixton had resembled the violent scenes in Toxteth but on June 29th Lloyd erected his huge sound system outdoors and held a trouble free dance party to celebrate Charles and Diana’s big day. Lloyd remembers his feelings as thousands turned out for the event when he wasn’t sure who was even going to play. Luckily for Lloyd many local artists and DJs took to the microphones that day, including Levi Roots and Peter Huningale.

A West London bridal company was racing against time to complete a replica of Diana’s £20,000 dress in less than four hours, as Charles and Diana were tying the knot. Regine Ellis and Stella Fuller of Ellis Bridals explain that the company made replicas of all royal wedding dresses but that this one was the most famous dress in the world. They felt the pressure because they saw it for the first time with the rest of the world when Diana stepped out of her carriage and it had to be finished by 5pm.

For TV presenter Angela Rippen, June 29th was to be the longest and most important day of her career as she reported the event from Television Centre. She recalls the adrenaline that got her through a whole day’s broadcasting and remembers asking the question that everyone wanted to know the answer to: “What’s she going to wear?” She also describes the first royal public kiss that the crowds chanted for outside Buckingham Palace.

Not everyone however, was so keen on the royal wedding. Steve Mills and Dave Rogers, two old angling friends decided to take advantage of the bank holiday and went fishing for the day off the Isle of Wight. They remember celebrating for a different reason – they caught a 12 foot thresher shark, the fourth biggest ever caught in British waters.

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