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People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Thursday June 20, 2013 04:10AM EDT
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- May 16, 2011
- Vol. 75
- No. 19
The Princess Wedding Diaries
How Does It Feel to Be Part of a Royal Celebration? Three Women Who've Been There Share Their Memories
India Hicks recalls the role of a lifetime: bridesmaid to Diana
Looking back, I go, "Incredible: I rode in a gilt carriage, drawn by horses in central London." It's fairly extraordinary. I didn't fully understand the significance. I remember being so embarrassed by waving from the carriage because you feel so terribly awkward at age 13 doing that.
On the day [July 29, 1981], Diana was a very strange combination of that fragile 20-year-old girl and yet there was quite a determined streak as well. She was very keen to see herself on television while we were all getting dressed. In the dress rehearsals leading up to the event and the actual occasions we had our dress fittings, she was very much in control. To me, she felt like the head girl in school.
I was [responsible for] looking after her long train. We had to deal with 25 ft. of material-a nightmare. We had rehearsals. A cloth was tied around Diana's waist when we had tried it out. What no one had tested was whether that amount of material could fit into a glass carriage. She was folded into the carriage, but when she got out the other end, it really was quite a crumpled mess. She knew what we had to face and she just whispered, "Do your best."
The most unexpected thing was the wedding photographs that went on for a long time. Prince Andrew kept telling filthy jokes throughout.
It finally got to a stage where Diana was so utterly exhausted that she just flounced down onto the ground, and we all just collapsed into a heap.
Diana gave us little china pots as a memento. Inside it I kept silkworms that had actually spun the silk for Diana's dress.
Standing on that palace balcony and seeing the sea of faces below was really extraordinary. Prince Andrew and Prince Edward tied cans to the carriage and a Just Married sign. They rode out of the palace gates with the cans clattering behind them. I was witness to a great historical event.
'We were dying to tell'
Designer Elizabeth Emanuel shares tales of Diana's dress
Diana herself called to ask if we would do her the honor of making her wedding dress. It was one of those moments that you know your whole life's going to change. We were dying to tell everybody; it was a while before I told my parents even! We had people renting out offices across the road so we had to put up shutters so they couldn't photograph us. And we used to leave false trails in the rubbish bins with bits of threads and fabrics to confuse people. Diana really liked [a dress] that had appeared in Italian Brides magazine, so we decided that was the template: small waist, puffy sleeves. We wanted to do something very dramatic-the ultimate fairy-tale wedding dress. [Getting out of the carriage], the way the dress expanded was like a butterfly coming out of a chrysalis. We didn't have any restrictions and we perhaps went over the top. Maybe if we had someone advising us, they may have said to be more restrained. We had no help from anybody. We were so excited that Diana loved the dress as much as we did.
'This life is not a path traveled by many'
Queen Rania, just 22 when she met Prince Abdullah, the future King of Jordan, reflects on the day she became a princess
At the top of a hill outside Amman favored by race-car drivers, and after a hair-raising drive, Abdullah asked me to marry him. Breathless, scared and giddy, I was so happy to be alive, I would have said yes to anything! It gave me a whole new perspective on the art of negotiation.
I knew I was at the center of a certain amount of intrigue: She who dates a prince in a small city would be naive to expect anything less. But when we announced our engagement, I was surprised at the scale of interest in me, the stories which circulated and how often my actions were misunderstood. And therein was my first lesson of public life. It is public. I was public!
Everyone has an opinion. It's dizzying knowing to whom to listen. For a reserved person like me, being thrust into the limelight took a lot of adjustment and courage. The thought of public life made me nervous. And the thought of my wedding, even more so.
[On June 10, 1993], it wasn't quite the small event we imagined. I might have looked like a serene bride in the photos, but that's because for the journey there, I was largely immobile. When my brother-in-law Prince Feisal picked me up in a vintage car, its ceiling was so low and my hair was so high, my head jammed and I couldn't move my neck. Abdullah, proud of his career in the Special Forces, persuaded me that it would be a good idea if one of his parachutists dropped out of the sky bearing the sword with which we would cut our wedding cake. Thankfully, he landed perfectly!
I was riding through the streets of Amman in an open-topped car flanked by security, surrounded by thousands of people waving flags and cheering. I realized the gravitas of my new role.
I was marrying into history, into a venerable family. The personal sense of responsibility I felt to him was greater than anything I'd ever experienced. I vowed then to do my husband [Abdullah], His Majesty King Hussein and the people of Jordan proud. I continue to work towards that goal every day by supporting His Majesty's vision for education and social welfare: refurbishing classrooms, training teachers and protecting children from abuse.
My husband once told me that public service is a privilege-and I have never forgotten that.
Do I get it right all the time? No. Do I make mistakes? Yes. But I have learned the beauty of perspective. The anxieties that plagued me as a young 20-something are still with me, but I'm kind of glad they are. Channeled correctly, they help me stay focused and balanced. As do my friends. For all the titles, status and crowns, I need them more than they need me. They keep me sane, and I love them for it.
This life-of princess and then as queen-is not a path traveled by many. On the journey I am grateful to have met many people, some to learn with, some to learn from. Sometimes I get it right; sometimes I get it wrong. And still I must keep moving forward in the knowledge that I will, undoubtedly, stumble again.
Either way, the opportunity to step on that path, serve the public and make a difference in the lives of others is a privilege, and one which I am humbled to have had.
It is a path which, I have no doubt, Princess Catherine will walk with grace, humility and purpose. I wish her well.
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