The Most Awkward Moments That Happened At Royal Weddings

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a bride vomit on you as she walked down the aisle to be married? Caroline, the wife of King George II, had this very experience when her soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Princess Augusta, made her way to the altar in 1736 (per Harper's Bazaar). Curious about how it would feel to watch the man you were about to marry burst into tears when no one objected to the union? Caroline of Brunswick witnessed just such a scene unfold at her own nuptials to King George IV in 1795. How would you feel if one of your guests got so drunk that he had a stroke and died during your wedding celebration? Well, that's exactly what happened when King Harthacnut of Denmark rose to toast a bride and groom at their wedding in 1042.

Modern moments of awkwardness at royal weddings may pale in comparison to those of antiquity, but they still happen quite often. Nowadays, however, they are extremely well-documented. Planning a wedding for members of the British royal family begins soon after the engagement and is likely to take months. In addition to exciting a large portion of England's population, the event is closely tracked by royal watchers all over the globe. Despite all the planning, preparation, and attention to detail, however, it seems that every royal wedding still has its awkward moments.

Lady Diana's dress took a beating

When British fashion designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel received the request to make Lady Diana Spencer's wedding gown, they thought it was a joke (per Hello! Magazine). "We got a call to say, 'Would you do the honor of making the wedding gown?' but when we weren't in the running in the press, I thought, gosh, perhaps it was a hoax call? But later, she did ring back, it must have been a month or so later." The gorgeous confection, which would be seen by millions, would endure several mishaps on its way to the altar.

For starters, Lady Diana spilled perfume on the front of the gown and the stain couldn't be removed. It's doubtful that many people noticed, but two people were mortified for a different reason when they saw her exit the wedding carriage. The Emanuels couldn't believe how wrinkled the gown had become during transit. "We did know it would crease a bit, but when I saw her arrive at St. Paul's and we saw the creasing, I actually felt faint," said Elizabeth (per the Mirror). It turns out they didn't have to be worried. As David tells it, "We had a little party and just as I'm about to lock up, the phone rings ... I thought, who's calling? It was Diana! She said, 'I just wanted to say thank you so much for the gown. I loved it. Prince Charles loved it. All the family loved it.'"

Harry and Meghan's cake was almost served cold

The woman who had the privilege of making Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's $70,000 wedding cake (per Brides) described the mishap that would have gotten a very cool reception had it not been addressed just in time. When baker Claire Ptak was tapped for the job, it was only four months prior to the event. She recalled her meeting with the couple in Town & Country a year afterward. "We discussed that they wanted something very unique and outside the box; they didn't feel that there should be any kind of constrictions, to do something within tradition."

With that in mind, Ptak created an elderberry flower and lemon-flavored cake that was smaller and less formal than many of its predecessors. The display cake was used for photos and then donated to charity, while additional tiers were pre-cut into slices to serve the 750 guests. Ptak described the near disaster. "The ones that we cut were nice and cold, and then they're meant to stay out at room temperature until they're served so they go lovely and soft. But there was a miscommunication, and they were all put back into the fridge. I had been elsewhere looking at the flowers and came back down and saw that they were all in the fridge and so I freaked out." Fortunately, they were able to transport the slices to a warmer kitchen and they were served at their ideal temperature.

Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones refused to kiss

When Queen Elizabeth's son Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones, the couple took a simpler approach to their royal nuptials. The wedding took place on June 19, 1999 at St. George's Chapel, and was dubbed the "people's wedding" because 8,000 spectators had been invited onto the grounds of Windsor Castle to witness the event. They first met in 1987 and then crossed paths again at a tennis match in 1993, where Rhys-Jones was doing some public relations work, and the two started dating (per Hello! Magazine). After becoming engaged in 1999, the couple — who had both been pursuing careers in the private sector — have since established themselves as reliable working members of the royal family (per Express). 

Prince Edward and Sophie have managed to avoid most of the scandals that have plagued other members of the royal family, perhaps experiencing their most awkward moment as a couple just after they took their vows. Afterward, on the steps of the church, they refused to share the customary kiss, which was a disappointment to the crowds and the media. Royal watcher Ayesha Hazarika commented, "I think they decided, 'You know what, we're going to actually not give the press what they want and we're also going to send a signal that we are not 100% public property." One friend said, however, that "when they left the main room, they gave each other a kiss ... it was a great private moment."

Prince William misbehaved at Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's wedding

Anyone who has ever had a very young child serve as a member of a bridal party certainly knows the challenges that come along with it. It turns out that royal children are prone to the same misbehaviors and shenanigans as the rest of us commoners when they participate in royal weddings. Many years prior to William's own wedding (where 3-year-old bridesmaid Grace van Cutsem's meme-worthy scowl would make her famous) the young prince engaged in his own antics at his uncle Prince Andrew's marriage to Sarah Ferguson. 

In the most anticipated wedding since his own parents' celebration a few years prior, Prince William's uncle, Prince Andrew, was set to marry Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson on July 23, 1986. The event would be watched by 500 million people worldwide and included several younger family members, including William and his cousins, Zara and Peter Phillips, per itv. The prince, who was 4 years old at the time, served as a page boy and wore an adorable sailor outfit for the occasion. During the 45-minute-long ceremony, Prince William was seen fidgeting, yawning, sticking his tongue out, and making faces at other members of the wedding party. Apparently unfazed by the tiny prince's mischievousness, the queen gave her grandson a sweet embrace after the ceremony (per People).

Princess Eugenie shares a wedding day mishap with her aunt Kate Middleton

October 12, 2018 was the date that Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's youngest daughter, Princess Eugenie, married her boyfriend of seven years, Jack Brooksbank, per People. The wedding, which was attended by all of the most senior members of the royal family, was held at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Among the guests, of course, were Eugenie's cousin Prince William and his wife, Kate. Little did the foursome realize that the princess and Brooksbank would have an experience at the altar nearly identical to the one William and Kate had navigated several years prior.

Eugenie, who took great pains to make her wedding plastic-free, said to Vogue regarding the wedding prep, "It's nerve-wracking because you want it to be perfect, but then you realize that you're going to be with the person you love forever and nothing else really matters." The small hitch came as Brooksbank went to slide the Welsh gold wedding band onto Eugenie's finger in front of their 800 guests. He struggled and made a funny face, which prompted the princess to reach in with her other hand for an assist (per People). Keen royal watchers surely flashed back to 2011, when Kate had to do the same for William after he had a similar challenge. It turns out that Kate had gotten her ring resized prior to the wedding, but had made it one size too small (per Daily Mail). 

Princess Beatrice had to scale down her wedding

The eldest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson had planned to follow in the footsteps of her younger sister, Princess Eugenie, and host a large wedding when it was her turn to get married (per Page Six). Unfortunately, for Princess Beatrice and her future husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, 2020 ushered in a worldwide pandemic and what seems (thus far) to be an insurmountable scandal that directly involves her father. Apparently, the Firm, as the British monarchy is known, realized that throwing an over-the-top celebration in the wake of these events might not be a good look.

The wedding, which ended up happening on July 17, 2020, was attended by about 20 people (per Vogue). It came as a surprise to the public when the palace announced via the royal family's Twitter account that the couple had wed. Though neither of the princess' parents appeared in any of the official photos released by Buckingham Palace, they had all quarantined together at Royal Lodge in Windsor, which made it possible for her father to walk her down the aisle (per The Telegraph). 

Princess Eugenie's 6-year-old bridesmaid asked Fergie an awkward question

Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson has endured many awkward moments since she entered public life upon becoming romantically involved with Prince Andrew. The couple, who married in 1986 and were divorced in 1996, remain close friends (per People), and were on hand to celebrate their youngest daughter Princess Eugenie's marriage to Jack Brooksbank in 2018. Also present at the royal nuptials, and serving in the role of bridesmaid, was Theodora "Teddy" Williams, the 6-year-old daughter of English singer/songwriter Robbie Williams and his wife, Ayda Field.

The awkward moment, which was caught on video, occurred when Ferguson and the little girl crossed paths outside of St. George's Chapel after the ceremony. As Ferguson made her way down the steps, Williams inquired, "Are you the queen?" to which Ferguson replied, "No, I'm not" and kept walking. Williams shouted out a follow-up question, "You're a princess?" to which Ferguson quickly replied "yes" before continuing down the steps. Despite the mother of the bride's apparent discomfort, Williams, who seemed to finally be satisfied, adorably raised her bouquet into the air as Ferguson jumped into a waiting car.

Fergie chose some controversial wedding vows

"If Fergie wanted to give a lead to modern women, this is not the way," claimed Parliament member Clare Short. She was commenting on bride-to-be Sarah Ferguson's plan to use the traditional vows "to love, honor, and obey," rather than the more modern version, "to love, honor, and cherish," which Lady Diana had chose (per the Los Angeles Times). Prince Andrew — or "Randy Andy," as he was often referred to during that era because of his dating exploits — was entering the marriage after several awkward episodes. Among those was his relationship with actress Kathleen "Koo" Stark, whose topless appearance in an "art house" film in the 1970s brought a level of notoriety to their relationship that it could not withstand (per the Daily Mail).  

Now poised to marry a wholesome young woman who had grown up in the small village of Dummer, England, Prince Andrew seemed to be on the verge of overcoming his romantic scandals. Fergie's choice of vows, which seemed oddly old-fashioned to many, would be delivered with a brazen little twist. "Some spectators said they saw her wink at Andrew beneath her veil as she vowed to 'obey' her husband," the LA Times apparently reported in 1986 (per Yahoo!).

Camilla had a wardrobe malfunction on her wedding day

Queen Consort Camilla, as she is now known, shared an endearing story about the queen in a personal tribute after her death. The event occurred on the day she and Prince Charles were married in 2005. The couple, whose relationship had been fraught with challenges since they met — and who had married and divorced other people before they reunited — were finally to be married in a civil ceremony.  As an onlooker named Ann Fitzpatrick put it, "They're not aiming at perfection; just happiness" (per The New York Times).

Due to the fact that both Prince Charles and Camilla were divorced, the couple would be married in a civil ceremony that would be attended by the queen. Camilla recalled the funny incident during the taped tribute. "I remember coming from here at Clarence House to go to Windsor the day I got married," she said. "When I probably wasn't firing on all cylinders, quite nervous, for some unknown reason I put on a pair of shoes and one had an inch heel and one had a two-inch heel. Talk about hop-a-long." Camilla continued, "There was nothing I could do. I was halfway down in the car before I realized. And [the queen] could see it, and she laughed about it and just said, 'I'm terribly sorry,' and she did have a good sense of humor" (per Express).