The British Red Cross has played a special part in many Royal Weddings. The celebrations for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no exception. As we get ready for 19 May, peek down the aisle back to the 1960s and hear from the people who were there…
TV’s first Royal Wedding: 1960
The first Royal Wedding to be televised was in May 1960. More than 20 million people tuned in to watch the black and white images of Princess Margaret marrying Antony Armstrong-Jones.
The Red Cross’s Mrs S.H. McFadyen had a ringside seat in Westminster Abbey. She described the vivid colours of the ceremony for a Red Cross magazine.
“H.M. The Queen’s long dress was of vivid blue, that of the Queen Mother was gold lace with a mass of fawn ospreys on her hat.”
Princess Margaret “was in every meaning of the word a Fairy Tale bride, her dress so simple, and her veil off her face. The Duke of Edinburgh talked to her all the way up the aisle.”
Guests included Sir Winston Churchill, who “looked frail, but he was there.”
Mrs McFadyen also described the striking outfits on display in the abbey.
“Some of the hats of the guests had to be seen to be believed, and it was a wonderful sight to see the most gorgeous sari, from India, and the gay costumes worn by representatives of distant lands.”
Three years later, young Peter McMorrow had what he described as “the great honour of being chosen to represent the Junior Red Cross of Scotland at the wedding of Princess Alexandra and Mr Angus Ogilvy.”
Peter wrote about the event at Westminster Abbey for the Scottish Red Cross News in 1963.
“When we arrived there it struck me as being a fabulous place, and inside we had a good seat.
“Some of the guests I saw were Lord Avon and the Prime Minister, Mr Harold Macmillan.”
Princess Alexandra has been an active supporter of the British Red Cross since being appointed patron of Red Cross Youth in 1953. Today she is our deputy president.
When William wed Kate: 2011
A million people gathered in London to catch a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding on 29 April 2011.
Red Cross first aiders were on hand outside Westminster Abbey, in Parliament Square and the surrounding area to help anyone who fell ill. Ten lucky first aiders were on duty in the abbey as the wedding ceremony took place.
“Royal weddings don’t come around very often, and I felt very honoured and lucky to be on first aid duty for William and Kate’s wedding,” first aider Mary told Life magazine.
When Harry marries Meghan: 2018
We’re back on first aid duty for the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor. Around 115,000 people are expected to line the streets to celebrate.
Together with our friends at St John’s Ambulance and the South Central Ambulance Service, we’ll be helping anyone who needs first aid.
Our kind and dedicated volunteers are doing a 24-hour shift from Friday to Saturday to help keep everyone safe.
Look out for them on the television coverage. Hopefully the colourful red cross logo should be easier to spot than it was in 1960!