ON THIS DAY    23 July      Graphics version >>   BBC News >>
Search ON THIS DAY by date   
  Go back one day Go forward one day

Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
1986: Prince Andrew weds Sarah Ferguson

VIDEO : Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson exchange their wedding vows

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson have married at Westminster Abbey.

Thousands of people lined the streets of London and a worldwide TV audience of 500 million tuned in to catch a glimpse of the pageantry.

Miss Ferguson arrived at the 900-year-old church at 1130 BST - only a couple of minutes late - after riding from Clarence House in the Glass Coach with her father, Sir Ronald.

Inside, 2,000 people, amid 30,000 flowers, watched the bride make her four-minute walk up the blue-carpeted aisle, sweeping a 17-foot train behind her.

As well as the families of the bride and groom, guests included 17 members of foreign royalty, US First Lady Nancy Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Title deed

The Queen conferred Prince Andrew with the title Duke of York - last held by King George VI and traditionally reserved for the sovereign's second son - just 90 minutes before the ceremony.

Prince Edward was best man to his 26-year-old brother and Prince Charles read the lesson in a service conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Robert Runcie.

As the couple exchanged their vows cheers could be heard from the crowd outside.

The new Duchess of York mistakenly repeated Prince Andrew's middle name, Christian, and agreed to obey her husband - a clause omitted by Princess Diana in her 1981 marriage to Prince Charles.

After they had signed the register the couple rode in the open-topped 1902 State Landau to Buckingham Palace.

The Duchess looked radiant in her ivory duchesse satin dress, next to the Duke - four months her junior - in the ceremonial day dress of a naval lieutenant.

A crowd of 100,000 clamoured to see their first public kiss as man and wife on the balcony of the Palace.

Following their wedding party for 300 guests at Claridges Hotel, the couple will honeymoon in the Azores.

In Context
The Duke and Duchess of York had two daughters - Princess Beatrice in August 1988 and Princess Eugenie in March 1990.

They divorced in 1996, but they were living together again a year later at the family home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, for the sake of the children.

In an attempt to recover from large debts Sarah Ferguson published children's books about Budgie, the helicopter she learnt to fly in.

She has courted additional publicity with cameo appearances on British and American TV.

In 2001 Sarah Ferguson admitted to an American magazine her marriage began to break down within a week of the state wedding because of Prince Andrew's naval duties.

Search ON THIS DAY by date   
  Go back one day Go forward one day

Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
^^ Back to top |