50 cents 1981 - Royal Wedding
By CAA | Tuesday, 28 November 2023
This coin was issued to commemorate the wedding of HRH the Prince of Wales (King Charles III) and Lady Diana Spencer.
It tooks place on Wednesday, 29 July 1981, at St Paul's Cathedral the traditional site of royal weddings, because St Paul's offered more seating and permitted a longer procession through London. The groom was the heir apparent to the British throne, and the bride was a member of the Spencer family.
The ceremony was seen by a crowd of 3,500 people, the streets of London were flooded with around 600,000 people (4,000 police and 2,200 military officers managed the crowds) and it was watched by an estimated global television audience of 750 million people.
Wedding's gifts from various countries
- Australia: Some handcrafted silver platters
- Canada: A set of antique furniture and a watercolor of loons with a large brooch of gold, diamonds and platinum
- New Zealand: An all-wool broadloom carpet from New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia: A matching diamond and sapphire watch, bracelet, pendant, ring, and earrings
- United States: An engraved Steuben glass bowl and Boehm porcelain centerpiece
In a series of tapes recorded for her 1992 biography, Diana said that she recalled discovering a bracelet which Charles had bought for his longtime lover Camilla Parker Bowles shortly before their wedding.
Due to her suspicions she wanted to call off the wedding but was put off the idea by her sisters. In March 1981, she was photographed holding back tears at the airport where Charles was departing for a trip to Australia. Diana later revealed that she had been left disturbed after hearing a telephone conversation between Charles and Camilla in his study.
Charles and Diana in Australia
During the royal tour, Charles and Diana visited Uluru in Australia in 1983. While visiting, Christopher John Lewis, who had fired a shot with a .22 rifle at the Queen in 1981, attempted to escape a psychiatric hospital in order to assassinate Charles. While Charles was visiting Australia on Australia Day in January 1994, David Kang fired two shots at him from a starting pistol in protest of the treatment of several hundred Cambodian asylum seekers held in detention camps.
Overall, the tour was a success and the couple drew immense crowds, though the press focused more on Diana rather than Charles, coining the term 'Dianamania' as a reference to people's obsession with her. In autumn 1985, they returned to Australia, and their tour was well received by the public and the media, who referred to Diana as "Di-amond Princess" and the "Jewel in the Crown". In 1988, Charles and Diana visited Thailand and toured Australia for the bicentenary celebrations.
King Charles III was officially crowned in a coronation ceremony on May 7, 2023. This is the first coronation to take place in 70 years, since that of the late Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. On 31 August 1997, Diana died in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris while her driver was fleeing the paparazzi. In 2005, Charles married his long-term partner, Camilla Parker Bowles.
The event was also commemorated with a similar design on a British crown coin in 1981.