Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage may not have worked out the way people had hoped, but things sure did look great in the beginning, right? Before the couple became embroiled in multiple stories of infidelity and public trash-talking, Diana and Charles were two young people (seemingly) in love. And on the day they were married in 1981, the newlyweds did something that would change British royal wedding protocol forever.
After tying the knot at Westminster Abbey, Diana, Charles, and the rest of their royal family members made their way back to Buckingham Palace to pose for official wedding portraits and greet the thousands of adoring fans and well-wishers cheering outside (not to mention the 750 million people watching worldwide). Once on the balcony, Charles and Diana waved to the throngs of people below. After he placed a sweet kiss on Diana’s hand, the crowd began chanting, “Give her a kiss!,” and Charles leaned in and kissed his new bride.
While Queen Victoria was the first royal to address the British public from Buckingham Palace after her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840, it wasn’t until Charles and Diana’s nervous smooch in 1981 that a pair of royal newlyweds had kissed for the world. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the only way Diana made history at her wedding — during the ceremony, she became the first royal bride to omit the word “obey” from her vows. Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle would follow suit decades later in their vows to Diana’s sons, William and Harry, respectively.
While still a touchy (ha) subject for the royals, Charles and Diana’s historic move made it acceptable for royal couples to show their love for each other in a celebratory public setting. To this day, it is an expected part of royal wedding ceremonies and one that we’ve grown to look forward to over the years — just see Prince William and Kate Middleton’s balcony smooch and the one between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle outside St. George’s Chapel. Look back on photos of Charles and Diana’s game-changing kiss when you keep reading.