With the long-awaited and eagerly anticipated upcoming nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the world has gone “royally mad”.
A slew of would-be brides went crazy over the Issa electric-blue jersey dress Kate wore during the announcement of the pair’s engagement, while the oval sapphire ring that belonged to the late Princess Diana, which Prince William proposed to Kate with, has fuelled a replica storm by jewellers the world over.
With all this talk of monarchs and marriages we look back at some of the most famous royal unions of the past few decades.
Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark and Mary Donaldson
After meeting in a Sydney pub in 2000, sparks flew between the down-to-earth couple. A long-distance courtship ensued, with the pair eventually tying the knot on May 14, 2004 in Frederik’s native country of Denmark. Upon their marriage the Danish Parliament passed a special law (dubbed Mary's Law), granting Mary Danish citizenship.
Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly
The already regal Hollywood actress married her prince in Monaco on April 18, 1956. The 600 guests included silver screen legends Gary Grant and Ava Gardner, while the ceremony was watched by an estimated 30 million people on televisions worldwide.
Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer
While at the time their union seemed the stuff of fairytales – the English prince marrying the virginal young bride, Charles and Diana’s union unfortunately did not hold true to the popular idiom “and they lived happily ever after”. Married July 29, 1981 the couple divorced in 1996 amid an exhaustive media frenzy, which sadly followed Diana to her death in 1997.
Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece and Marie-Chantal Miller
Crown Prince Pavlos married American heiress Marie-Chantal on July 1, 1995 at St Sophia's Cathedral in London. Attendees included many European royals and the ceremony was televised live in Greece, leading to a notable rise in public support for the restoration of the monarchy.
Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden and Daniel Westling
Heiress-apparent to the Swedish throne, Princess Victoria wed unassuming personal trainer and gym owner, Daniel Westling on June 19, 2010. More than 1,200 guests attended the nuptials, while more than half a million Swedes joyously waved Swedish flags and cheered the couple during their ceremonial procession from the church to the royal castle.
Crown Prince of Japan, Naruhito and Masako Owada
Heir apparent to the Chrysanthemum Throne of Japan, Prince Naruhito married Masako Owada, a former diplomat in the Japanese Foreign Ministry, on June 9, 1993. The couple were married at the Imperial Shinto Hall in Tokyo before 800 invited guests and an estimated media audience of 500 million people worldwide.
Mick Jagger and Bianca Macias
While technically not royalty, no one could dispute that during the 1960-70s, Mick and Bianca Jagger were rock royalty. The pair tied the knot on May 12, 1971 in St. Tropez in the south of France. Bianca donned a white Yves Saint Laurent tuxedo jacket for the affair, sparking a frenzy of replicas all across the globe. While the pair stayed married for seven years, Bianca later said of their union, "My marriage ended on my wedding day". She filed for divorce on the grounds of Mike's adultery with model Jerry Hall.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
Falling in love on the set of Cleopatra, Hollywood royalty Elizabeth and Richard (or “Lizzie” and “Dick” as the papers dubbed them) were a dynamic and volatile pair. Prone to drunken theatrics and overt displays of passion, they married not once, but twice. Their first union, on March, 15 1964 lasted nearly a decade until their divorce in June 1974, while their second marriage, on October 10, 1975, lasted a mere eight months. Of Richard, Elizabeth later said: "I love Richard Burton with every fiber of my soul, but we can't be together."
John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier
American political royalty, John and Jackie were married September 12, 1953 in Newport, Rhode Island. While reportedly Jackie’s family initially disapproved of “JFK”, due to his playboy and man-about-town reputation, the couple did receive a special blessing from Pope Pius XII on the day of their wedding.