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Royal Weddings, Royal Disasters

May 16, 2018

The royal wedding between Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle has been in the planning stages—and hotly anticipated—ever since they announced their engagement last November. Let’s hope they crossed every t and dotted every i, and can avoid these mishaps of royal weddings past.

Old Hat

One of the perks of being the queen of England: You almost always get to wear some kind of gem-covered hat. In 1947, before she was literally crowned the U.K.’s reigning monarch, Elizabeth II got married to Prince Philip and wore an item called the Fringe Tiara, made for Queen Mary’s 1919 wedding. As Elizabeth’s hairdresser was getting the future queen ready for the big day, they touched the tiara, and it broke. It had to be escorted by police to a workshop across town, and then rushed back to Elizabeth, who wore it during the wedding without incident.

The Name Game

There’s a famous moment on the TV sitcom Friends, in which Ross (David Schwimmer) marries his English fiancée Emily in London…but things go south when at the altar, he says he will “take thee, Rachel,” not Emily, referring to his ex-girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston). A similar thing happened at a London wedding watched by even more people than watched Friends. At her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles, Lady Diana Spencer, just 20 years old and apparently quite nervous,” erred on her vows, referring to her husband-to-be as “Philip Charles,” not “Charles Philip.” Charles, for his part, messed up, too, reciting his intention to share with Diana “thy goods” instead of his own “worldly goods.” (Which means he told her he’d share her possessions with…her.) One other major snafu—the 25-foot train on Diana’s dress was so long and poofy that it had to be bunched up during her carriage ride to the wedding at St. Paul’s Cathedral. By the time she arrived, the whole dress was thoroughly and noticeably wrinkled.

What Might Come Up?    

A few hundred years ago, royal weddings more often than not were arranged as a consolidation of power or created alliances for the ruling families of Europe. That was more the intent behind the 1736 wedding between Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (a region now part of Germany) and Frederick, the Prince of Wales. It certainly wasn’t romance—the couple didn’t meet until their wedding day, and Augusta had only just arrived in England (and she didn’t speak English). It was all just too much for Augusta…who, during the wedding ceremony, vomited all over her dress, as well as her new mother-in-law, Queen Caroline.

A Feast to Forget

One of the oldest royal wedding mishaps goes back to one of the oldest royal weddings on record. In 1868, Alfred the Great (the King of Wessex) married the daughter of a noble and a different royal family named Ealhswith. What happened on Alfred’s wedding the day, along with other contemporary historical documents leads historians to believe that the king suffered from Crohn’s disease, a painful disease marked by inflammation of the intestines, which leads to severe pain in one’s lower regions. After Alfred and his bride indulged in a wedding feast that lasted for many hours, he keeled over in severe, screaming abdominal pain in front of all of his guests, right there at the table.

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