Duchess Kate

30 years later, Diana's wedding (and that dress) still captivate

July 29, 2011 at 12:02 PM ET

Hulton Archive / Getty Images /
On July 29, 1981, Charles, Prince of Wales, and his wife, Princess Diana (1961 - 1997), wave to the crowds following their wedding ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral.
- / AFP/Getty Images /
Diana enters her wedding ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral in her famous dress, designed by David Emanuel.

Before Will and Kate's royal wedding extravaganza captured the attention of the world, a real Princess bride -- Princess Diana -- wed Prince Charles in the event of a lifetime. 

It was 30 years ago today that Prince Charles wed Lady Diana. In the beginning, the story played out in much the same way as Will and Kate's would, decades later: An engagement portrait in which Diana flashed a sapphire and diamond ring, spectators camped out to catch a glimpse of the royal procession, a bride in an elaborately crafted gown, saying her vows in a massive church (Diana, like Kate, refused to say she'd "obey"), and a balcony kiss. 

Princess Diana Archive / Getty Images /
Wedding fans in their '80s finery wait to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds.

The fairy tale eventually ended in a break-up and then a tragedy, but millions around the globe will never forget watching that wedding -- and that dress. 

Where did you watch Princess Diana's wedding?

Take a look back:

Slideshow: The wedding of Charles and Diana

Slideshow: Princess Diana's life

Prince William gives Kate a pair of Diana's earrings

Princess Diana, alive? she is in the mind of one author

Watch: How Princess Diana shaped William's ideals

Visitors line up to see Kate's wedding dress

Rare photos of Diana and Prince William revealed