The deluge of drama that's come from Thomas Markle Sr., Meghan Markle's father, in the days just before her and Prince Harry's royal wedding this Saturday has been enough to make anyone cringe. But let's not forget that as nutty as the Markles have turned out to be, the Windsors far surpass them—thanks, in part, to Prince Harry himself, whose own past scandals have involved a swastika and nude photos.
Indeed, all things considered, much worse things have gone down in the history of British royal weddings. Sure, the Big Day has yet to come, but it's hard to believe that the universally adored Markle could ever do anything as egregious as Princess Augusta did in the 1700s, when she vomited on her dress while walking down the aisle. Here, a roundup of other royal-wedding oopsies.
Prince William and Kate Middleton, 2011
- Prince William reportedly slept just 30 minutes the night before his wedding. "They were singing and cheering all night long," he later explained, adding that his nervousness didn't help. (He reportedly looked "absolutely terrified" before the ceremony and took a moment with Prince Harry to compose himself.)
- Still, that wasn't the reason that Prince William visibly struggled to fit the wedding ring on Middleton's finger, as 2 billion people looked on. She'd asked for it a size smaller than usual, seeing as her engagement ring was prone to slipping off of her finger since she'd lost weight.
- When it came time for them to kiss on the balcony, a disgruntled 3-year-old bridesmaid, Grace van Cutsem, accidentally stole the show by appearing in the photo's foreground, scowling and covering her ears with her hands.
- David Beckham showed up to the abbey in the correct attire of a "morning coat," except that he affixed his OBE to the wrong lapel. But by the time he and wife Victoria left the ceremony—where they positioned themselves next to a bathroom, as she was then eight months pregnant—it had been switched.
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, 2005
- Buckingham Palace paid all the expenses for two dabbawallahs, who hand-deliver hot meals across India, to attend the wedding, two years after Prince Charles first met them on a trip to India. (They reportedly gave the couple a sari and an Indian headdress.)
- According to the BBC, another guest, the comedian Stephen Fry, joked about giving Prince Charles "coffee made from Cambodian weasel vomit," claiming that he was hard to buy gifts for.
Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones, 1999
- The Sun published a topless photo of Sophie Rhys-Jones just weeks before her wedding, causing an uproar that eventually led to a public apology from the newspaper.
- Though the couple established a rule against hats, eschewing tradition in hopes of having a less formal ceremony, Princess Margaret still showed up in a chapeau complete with ostrich feathers. (She was also in a wheelchair at the time, having scalded her feet in the bath a few months prior.)
Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, 1981
- Princess Diana had only met Prince Charles 13 times before their wedding day, which was partially why she cried at a rehearsal two days beforehand—an episode that the BBC captured on camera and then quickly destroyed. (Prince Charles, for his part, reportedly wept the night before the wedding.)
- Ahead of the ceremony, Princess Diana led her bridesmaids in a rendition of the jingle for an ice cream ad, "Just One Cornetto," that played on a nearby TV.
- Once dressed, she traveled to St. Paul's Cathedral with her father in the Queen's Class Coach, which ended up being too small to contain her 25-foot train, and as a result, she arrived to the ceremony with a visible number of creases and wrinkles.
- Diana's gown also played host to the contents of her perfume bottle, thanks to a mishap with her 20-year-old makeup artist.
- As if to underline her lack of enthusiasm about the marriage, Diana "mistakenly" reversed Prince Charles's name while reciting her vows, calling him "Philip Charles."
- Once the ceremony came to an end, the youngest of the bridesmaids, five-year-old Clementine Hambro, the great-granddaughter of Winston Churchill, joined the couple in their tears when she tripped and fell in a hallway of Buckingham Palace.
Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, 1973
- The couple's wedding cake was a towering five-foot-six—a height specifically chosen to match up with that of Princess Anne.
Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, 1947
- Before she became the Queen, Princess Elizabeth used her own ration coupons to purchase her wedding dress. (She rejected the hundreds that were offered, as accepting them was forbidden.) Famously thrifty, she also ended up doing her own makeup for the ceremony.
- Mahatma Gandhi sent the couple a handmade piece of lace, which Queen Mary declared "rather vulgar" after mistaking it for a loincloth.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, 1840
- A century earlier, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert also received a notable wedding gift: the largest hunk of cheddar cheese ever made. Clocking in at more than 1,200 pounds, its circumference measured over nine feet, thanks to the contributions of 750 cows from Somerset.
King George IV and Caroline of Brunswick, 1795
- The first time that the then–Prince Regent laid eyes on his future wife, he reportedly retreated from her immediately, telling an earl, "I am not very well, pray get me a glass of brandy." But since he was hundreds of pounds in debt and badly in need of money, he eventually managed to get over her reportedly overwhelming body odor and imperfect visage. Caroline reacted to the Prince fairly similarly, remarking that he was "very fat" and did not at all resemble the handsome man in his portrait.
Prince Frederick and Princess Augusta, 1736
- Princess Augusta was just 17 when she arrived to London to marry Prince Frederick—a ceremony in which she vomited not only on her own wedding dress, but also that of her soon-to-be mother-in-law. Her nerves were largely due to the fact that she didn't speak any English, which also meant that the ceremony had to be translated into her ear, including the lines that she had to repeat phonetically.
Edward III and Philippa of Hainault, 1328
- Legend has it that snow poured in to Edward III's winter ceremony, which he and his wife-to-be held in the York Minster while it was still being constructed and without a roof over the nave.