Lifestyle

Royal Wedding Photos Through the Years: A History

Time to do your homework before Prince Harry's big day.
IMAGE Getty
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Amped about the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle? Yeah, we're on the fence too. Being decidedly un-royal, the mess of relatives and weddings is confusing. So to help, here's a history of royal weddings in England in photos. If nothing else, now you'll understand the British royal family and all its glorious lineage.

1923: Prince Albert and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

Prince Albert married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon of Scotland in 1923 at Westminster Abbey in London.


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Albert, whose story was made famous in the movie The King's Speech, became King George VI in 1936 after his older brother very dramatically abdicated the throne.

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Elizabeth, seen here leaving her house for the wedding, only agreed to marry Albert after his third proposal attempt. Their daughter Elizabeth became queen after George VI died in 1952, and she remains queen to this day.

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1947: Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten

Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten in 1947 at Westminster Abbey in London. Their wedding was broadcast over the radio, and over 200 million people listened around the world.

Elizabeth and Philip were distant cousins who started exchanging letters and got secretly engaged in 1946.

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Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 after her father George IV died. The tumultuous early years of her marriage and rule are captured in the Netflix show The Crown.

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Both Elizabeth and Philip are still alive, ages 92 and 96 respectively. Philip has retired from public life, but Elizabeth is as visible as ever. 

1960: Princess Margaret and Tony Armstrong-Jones

Princess Margaret, the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II, married photographer Tony Armstrong-Jones in 1960 at Westminster Abbey in London.


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The couple divorced in 1978, reportedly because Armstrong-Jones was tired of all the obligations of a royal life. Princess Margaret passed away in 2002 after suffering a series of strokes.

1973: Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips

Princess Anne, the second child and only daughter of Elizabeth II and Philip, married Captain Mark Phillips in 1973 at Westminster Abbey in London.

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An estimated 500 million watched their wedding on television. In over 200 years, it was only the second time a British royal married a commoner.

Princess Anne and Phillips divorced in 1992 after having two children; each remarried.

1981: Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer

Prince Charles, the first-born son of Elizabeth II and Philip, married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.


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Diana was a commoner, and only 20 when they married, 12 years younger than Charles. She was famous for her charity work.

The couple had two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, before they divorced in 1996.


Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi, and over a million people lined her funeral route.

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1986: Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson

Prince Andrew, the second son of Elizabeth II and Philip, married Sarah Ferguson in 1986 at Westminster Abbey in London.

Ferguson worked in public relations before their marriage.


The couple divorced in 1996, but began living together again a year later. They have two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

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1999: Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones

Prince Edward, the fourth child of Elizabeth II and Philip, married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999 at St. George's Chapel in Windsor.


Rhys-Jones worked in PR before their wedding, and continued to do so until 2002. Prince Edward was interested in drama, and started his own television company called Ardent Productions.

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The couple is still married, and they have two children.

2005: Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles

Prince Charles married again in 2005, to Camilla Parker Bowles in Windsor Guildhall in Windsor.

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It was widely acknowledged that Charles and Camilla, who met and became friends in 1970, were together while married to other people. This lead to Charles and Diana's divorce.

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After Diana's death, Camilla met more and more of the royal family until she and Charles were finally married. Charles is first in line to inherit the throne when his mother, Elizabeth II, dies.

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2011: Prince William and Kate Middleton

Prince William, the eldest son of Charles and Diana (and Queen Elizabeth's grandson), married Kate Middleton in 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London.

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The couple met at university, where they lived together with friends and eventually started dating. After graduating, they broke up for a bit, but got back together.

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William proposed while they vacationed in Kenya in 2010. 

Prince William is second in line to the throne, after his father Charles.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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