In Pictures: Remembering Prince William and Kate Middleton's Royal Wedding

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding has a lot to live up to compared to Prince William and Duchess Kate’s wedding.John Stillwell-WPA Pool/Getty Images
Well wishers ahead of the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding has a lot to live up to compared to Prince William and Duchess Kate’s wedding. Held on April 29, 2011, William and Kate’s wedding was an international spectacle, watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world, with a million people lining the streets of London to catch a glimpse of the royal couple. Those are some big numbers to beat (not that it’s a competition or anything).

William and Kate had tough competition to follow, too. Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding on July 21, 1981, was billed as the “wedding of the century," watched by more than 750 million people around the globe. 

Prince Charles Princess Diana Prince Charles and Diana stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London, following their wedding at St. Pauls Cathedral, June 29, 1981. Stringer/Reuters

But considering how Charles and Diana’s marriage ended in a bitter (and public) divorce, it wasn’t hard for William and Kate to set a new tone for a royal wedding: warmer, more personal, almost intimate—as intimate as you can get with the world watching.

The most important aspect of the wedding—the dress—was a tightly held secret until the big day. Designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, it was made of satin with overlaid lace. The veil was kept in place by a Cartier tiara.

Like many brides, Kate followed the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition. Hers included:

  • Old lace appointments.
  • New diamond earrings gifted to her by her parents.
  • A borrowed Cartier tiara from the Queen’s mother, gifted to her in 1936 by her husband, King George VI, three weeks before his accession to the throne.
  • Blue lace sewn into her bodice.

Kate’s wedding ring was made of Welsh gold, a tradition for the royal family. The gold was gifted to Prince William from Queen Elizabeth II from the royal family’s reserves. 

Even if Harry and Meghan’s wedding isn’t “the wedding of the new century,” it’s still a royal wedding, and as William and Kate’s wedding pictures show, every royal wedding is truly a fairy tale.

Well wishers line the route wearing face masks ahead of the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.Julian Finney/Getty Images
Well wishers in masks wave for the camera ahead of the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.Damien Meyer - WPA Pool/Getty IMages
HRH Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to attend the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive to attend the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.Paul Rogers - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is greeted by The Right Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster as he arrives to attend the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh wait for the bride and groom.Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Sir Elton John arrives at Westminster Abbey ahead of the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.Suzanne Plunkett - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall make their way to the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall arrives to attend the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales arrive to attend the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
David Beckham and Victoria Beckham arrive to attend the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.Jasper Juinen-WPA Pool/Getty Images
Queen Sofia of Spain, Prince Felipe of Asturias and Princess Letizia of Asturias arrive to attend the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding has a lot to live up to compared to Prince William and Duchess Kate’s wedding. Held on April 29, 2011, William and Kate’s wedding was an international spectacle, watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world, with a million people lining the streets of London to catch a glimpse of the royal couple. Those are some big numbers to beat (not that it’s a competition or anything).

William and Kate had tough competition to follow, too. Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding on July 21, 1981, was billed as the “wedding of the century," watched by more than 750 million people around the globe. 

Prince Charles Princess Diana Prince Charles and Diana stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London, following their wedding at St. Pauls Cathedral, June 29, 1981. Stringer/Reuters

But considering how Charles and Diana’s marriage ended in a bitter (and public) divorce, it wasn’t hard for William and Kate to set a new tone for a royal wedding: warmer, more personal, almost intimate—as intimate as you can get with the world watching.

The most important aspect of the wedding—the dress—was a tightly held secret until the big day. Designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, it was made of satin with overlaid lace. The veil was kept in place by a Cartier tiara.

Like many brides, Kate followed the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition. Hers included:

  • Old lace appointments.
  • New diamond earrings gifted to her by her parents.
  • A borrowed Cartier tiara from the Queen’s mother, gifted to her in 1936 by her husband, King George VI, three weeks before his accession to the throne.
  • Blue lace sewn into her bodice.

Kate’s wedding ring was made of Welsh gold, a tradition for the royal family. The gold was gifted to Prince William from Queen Elizabeth II from the royal family’s reserves. 

Even if Harry and Meghan’s wedding isn’t “the wedding of the new century,” it’s still a royal wedding, and as William and Kate’s wedding pictures show, every royal wedding is truly a fairy tale.