Prince Charles and Princess Diana Needed a Police Escort for a Surprising Item at Their Royal Wedding

Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s royal wedding on July 29, 1981, at St. Paul’s Cathedral — the venue offered more seating than Westminster Abbey — in London required a police escort for an unexpected yet still very important item in the wedding. Keep reading to learn what item at the historic royal wedding needed a police escort and why. 

Upwards of 750 million people watched Prince Charles and Princess Diana, then 32 and 20, become the Prince and Princess of Wales on that summer day in 1981. 

While the royal wedding had glorious fairytale aspects to it — horsedrawn carriages and Princess Diana’s incredible wedding gown designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel  — just like any other wedding, royal or not, the event required lots of planning leading up to the big day and when it finally arrived there were unpredictable moments e.g. Princess Diana’s perfume spill and the fact the bride and groom forgot to kiss after they exchanged vows and made up for it by kissing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, starting a new royal wedding tradition.

Prince Charles Princess Diana
Princess Diana and Prince Charles. | Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

It makes sense the royal family and other high profile guests may have needed police escorts to make their way to Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s royal wedding, but it’s rather surprising to learn an unexpected item — the bride’s bouquet — needed a police escort the day of the wedding. 

Princess Diana’s bouquet had a police escort

Princess Diana carried a bouquet of many different flowers including gardenias, stephanotis, odontolglossum orchid, lily of the valley, Earl Mountbatten roses, freesia, veronica, ivy, myrtle, and trasdescantia on her wedding day, according to Express

The flowers cascaded down the length of her gown and looked perfectly at home with her statement-making 25-foot train. 

Longmans Florist — now out of business — made Princess Diana’s bouquet and during an interview on the ITV special, Invitation to the Royal Wedding, David Longman who headed up the shop revealed the bouquet required a police escort. 

Princess Diana and Prince Charles
Princess Diana and Prince Charles.| Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

“We made two bouquets. The first one had to be delivered at 8 o’clock to Buckingham Palace,” Longman said. More on why two bouquets were made ahead.

We can imagine traffic in London the day of the royal wedding being at an absolute standstill meaning the florist would’ve needed assistance to get the flowers to their destination. 

“We had a police escort motorcyclist who took us all through the city to the Palace,” he added. “Then we came back, and by that time they had finished the second bouquet and back we went again.”

Why Princess Diana needed two bouquets

Princess Diana had to have two bouquets onhand because of an incident that happened at Queen Elizabeth II’s 1947 wedding to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. 

Queen Elizabeth II apparently misplaced her bouquet. It became a big deal because they had to retake their wedding photos at another date when another bouquet could be made. 

See Queen Elizabeth II without her bouquet below.

Queen Elizabeth II wedding
Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip. British Combine/British Combine/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Longman said if one were to look through Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip’s wedding photographs there are a few of Queen Elizabeth II without a bouquet. He added they had to retake the photographs on their honeymoon. 

“It got lost, so in the middle of their honeymoon, they had to get dressed up again in their wedding clothes and my father had to provide another bouquet for those photographs,” Longman said, adding, “Now, it’s the tradition to make two bouquets so that doesn’t happen again.”

After their royal wedding, Prince Charles and Princess Diana went on their honeymoon but it wasn’t a fairytale. Princess Diana became furious with her new husband when she realized in a way he brought Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall — whom he had an affair with for years, and later married in 2005 — with him on their honeymoon.