In February of 1981, a Diana Spencer married Charles, Prince of Wales, becoming the Princess of Wales herself. They were married at St. Paul’s Cathedral with an estimated TV audience of 750 million people—more than the last 5 Super Bowls combined.
Believe it or not, Ripley’s has a piece of their wedding cake. A fruitcake soaked in brandy, the 37-year-old cake is still exquisitely preserved thanks to its high alcohol content. Already outlasting the royal couple’s own marriage by 22 years, this piece of wedding cake has become especially collectible.
Princess Diana quickly became the world’s sweetheart. A fashion icon and active philanthropist, she was a young role model for the country. She led campaigns against the use of landmines and advocated for HIV/AIDS research. Unfortunately, her marriage eventually became rocky, and people became even further enveloped in her story as she suffered from depression. With so much attention on her, many people felt they had a personal stake in her wellbeing.
Her 13-year age difference from Charles along with extra-marital affairs finally tore the couple apart, and they divorced in 1996. Diana stayed largely in the spotlight as her health and mental states fluctuated, facing thorough scrutiny and media attention even after leaving the royal family. Tragically, she died in a car accident just a year after her divorce, and the incident has since become the subject of much controversy and many conspiracy theories—blaming everyone from the UK government and a dead ex-bodyguard to the paparazzi for the crash. The official cause at the time was attributed to the driver’s intoxication.
The slice we have is one of many and sits in our collection among cakes from William and Kate’s wedding, Princess Anne’s wedding, Charles and Camilla’s wedding—Charles’s second wife—and even a slice of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding cake from 1947.