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作者:By Mark Mason

  In the build-up1 to their grand wedding, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are probably too busy to read up on trivia about previous royal weddings. Which is a pity, as they might get some tips on things to include (such as rich tea biscuits2) and things to avoid—like spending your wedding night drunk on the floor by the fireplace…
  2011: Prince William and Kate Middleton
  Having chosen the same date for their wedding as Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun (April 29), Wills and Kate tied the knot at Westminster Abbey. She omitted the promise to “obey” her husband (just as his mother Diana had done at her wedding in 1981). The military uniforms worn by William and his brother included specially-tailored sweat guards to keep them dry under the TV lights. David Beckham entered the abbey wearing his OBE3 on the wrong lapel (that is, the right)—someone must have had a word, because he left the abbey with it on the left lapel. Guests departed to enjoy a wedding cake containing 1,700 rich tea biscuits, a favourite snack of the groom.
  2005: Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
  Guests included Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley and the bride’s ex-husband Andrew Parker Bowles—but not the groom’s mother.4 As Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the Queen is forbidden to attend the wedding of a divorcée5.
  1994: Sarah Armstrong-Jones and Daniel Chatto6
  Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones might have thought they were keeping it low-key with their 1999“no hats” edict,7 but five years earlier Princess Margaret’s daughter got married so quickly that the chauffeurs were caught unawares. Guests at St Stephen’s Walbrook church in the City of London—including the Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Diana—had to make small talk until the cars appeared.
  1981: Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer
  Still the biggie—the last “fairytale” royal wedding, before the Queen’s children started getting divorced and public deference disappeared over the horizon for good. Although Diana herself never signed up to the fairytale in the first place: the wedding was only her 14th meeting with Charles, and at the rehearsal two days before she had broken down in tears. (The BBC crew kept that a secret, making sure the footage never emerged.) On the morning of her marriage Diana sang “Just One Cornetto”8 as she sat in her dressing gown having her make-up done. Then she accidentally spilt perfume over her dress—she had to hold the folds in her hand to cover up the stain. During the service she got Charles’s names in the wrong order, putting his middle name Philip first. Prince Andrew9 later teased her that she’d married his father instead.

 1973: Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips
  The Queen’s second-oldest had a wedding cake that was exactly five feet six inches tall—because so is she.
  1947: Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh
  The Queen (as she then wasn’t) had her wedding dress designed by Norman Hartnell—and paid for it with ration coupons10. Hundreds of people sent her their own coupons to help out: but this would have been illegal, so she returned them all. The bride did her own make-up. As she got dressed for the service her tiara snapped—the court jeweller was given a police escort to his workshop so he could repair it in time.
  1923: Prince Albert and Lady Elizabeth BowesLyon
  On her way into Westminster Abbey, the future Queen Mother unexpectedly laid her wedding bouquet on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. This was in memory of her brother Fergus, who had been killed during World War I. Subsequent royal brides at the Abbey—including the Queen and Kate Middleton—have kept up the tradition.
  1840: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
  Previous royal brides had tended to favour blue or black wedding dresses, but Victoria (by then the reigning monarch) chose white so crowds along the processional route could see her clearly. Her decision is credited with spreading the modern tradition of brides wearing white.(She also banned her wedding guests from wearing the colour, and had the pattern for her dress destroyed so that no one could copy it.) Among the couple’s wedding presents was the largest cheddar cheese11 ever made. It contained the milk of 750 cows from Somerset, weighed 88 stone and had a circumference of over nine feet.12
  1795: Prince of Wales and Caroline of Brunswick
  The future George IV and his cousin Princess Caroline weren’t a match made in heaven, but a match made by his father George III. Seeing her for the first time, the prince said: “I am not well, pray get me a glass of brandy.” His bride-to-be was equally unimpressed, telling a friend that George was very fat and “nothing like as handsome as his portrait”. After their wedding George got stupendously13 drunk and spent the night lying on the bedroom floor by the fireplace.
  1736: Prince Frederick and Princess Augusta
The Prussian princess was just as reluctant about her marriage as Caroline had been about hers. On the way to the wedding she clung to her mother, begging“please don’t leave me”. Though she did it in German—she didn’t speak a word of English. Unsurprisingly this made the ceremony a bit of a challenge for her: a less than sympathetic Frederick shouted her lines into her ear so she could repeat them phonetically14. As soon as the proceedings were over Augusta was physically sick.
  1501: Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon
  Catherine would go down in history as the first of Henry VIII’s wives, but she had first married his elder brother Arthur.15 Her vows included a promise to be“bonny and buxom in bed and at board”.16
  1468: Charles the Bold and Margaret of York
  Charles, Duke of Burgundy, married the sister of Edward IV and Richard III in Bruges. The celebrations, which included jousting17 and feasts, went on for 12 days. This was longer than had been planned, and at one point workers from nearby cities had to be rushed to Bruges to help serve the food.
  1328: Edward III and Philippa of Hainault
  Proof that even the royal family can have problems with wedding venues. York Minster was still being built when Edward and his bride got married there. The nave18 didn’t yet have a roof, and as it was January the couple had to say their vows in a snow storm.

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