Fourteen previously unseen – and incredibly candid – photos from Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s 1981 wedding will go under the hammer in September.
The surprisingly relaxed behind-the-scenes photos will be sold by RR Auction on September 24 with bidding opening this week.
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The photos were shot shortly before Diana and Charles’s wedding reception, which was held at Buckingham Palace on July 29, 1981, after a ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The pictures were taken by an assistant to English photographer Patrick Lichfield, “whose peerage descent allowed him unparalleled access to the Royal Family.”
Lichfield’s team were the only ones allowed to take informal photos inside the Palace on the day.
The collection comprises of seven black-and-white glossy 10 x 8 photos, seven color 7 x 5 photos, and the security paper pass used by Lichfield’s assistant to access the Palace on Diana’s big day.
Six of the larger photos show the new bride wearing her iconic wedding gown. In many she is surrounded by members of her own family and the Royal wedding party, including Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Princess Ann, Princess Margaret, and Prince Andrew.
RR Auction’s site says: “Three of the images show Princess Diana holding the five-year-old Clementine Hambro, her youngest bridesmaid; one shows her setting Clementine down; and another shows her smiling as Prince Andrew leans over to talk to Clementine. Queen Elizabeth is clearly visible walking alongside Princess Diana in four of the images, and the Queen Mother is seen in two.”
The new, beaming groom, Prince Charles, is featured in at least two of the photographs. The last of the 10 x 8 photos (above) is the most striking, however. It shows Princess Diana and Prince Charles from behind on that famous balcony, which overlooks the massive crowds gathered on the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.
It’s a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most iconic Royal wedding photos of all time.
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RR Auction’s website adds: “The color 7 x 5 photos bear official Lichfield labels (asserting copyright) affixed to the reverse and show various interior scenes: the first exceptional image (5 x 7) pictures Diana and Charles standing beside one another, seemingly beaming with happiness; two show Queen Elizabeth watching a small television broadcasting images of the massive crowd outside; one shows Princess Diana in the Throne Room as her dress designers Elizabeth and David Emanuel arrange the train in preparation for the formal photographs; one depicts Princess Michael of Kent from behind in her turquoise dress; and two show the Royal Family gathering for the formal photographs (one lacking Lichfield label on reverse), with Mark Philips, Prince Andrew, Princess Diana, Prince Charles, Earl Spencer, the Duke and Duchess of York, and Baroness Fellows present.
The final item in the collection is the official embossed paper security card admitting the photographer to the Palace. It says: “Admit Miss…to Buckingham Palace Side Entrance on Tuesday, 28th July at 2:00 p.m. Remarks: To install lighting in the Throne Room for Wedding Group pictures.”
The card is accompanied by a letter of provenance which identifies the subjects in twelve of the 14 photographs and offers further specifics including the following: “I was the photographic assistant to Lord Patrick Lichfield…the only photographer allowed to take informal photographs of the royal family and their guests when they returned to Buckingham Palace…for the wedding reception. These are original prints.
“The black and white ones were printed by me, in the dark room in Aubrey Walk, within hours of the wedding. The color photographs were printed by a trusted laboratory that did the Lichfield studio color work. Lord Lichfield had me make up an album of black and white and color photographs, which he presented to Prince Charles and Princess Diana to commemorate the day of their wedding. These are photos that did not go into that album [and were given to Litchfield’s assistant in recognition of the work done on the wedding photographs].
To my knowledge, none have ever been published. Very few people have ever laid eyes on them.”
It is, “an exceptional assemblage of never-before-released images from the ‘wedding of the century.”
It is, indeed!
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