Our Century

Petticoats and curtsies

Eluned Bowen, Bridgnorth,
Born 1972

Aluned Bowen

"My sister and I lay belly-down on the floor glued to the television screen, our grandmother sat behind us on her chair, between the Silk Cuts and the knitting needles.

"The three of us cooed appreciatively and took turns to bang the top of the telly when the picture went fuzzy.

"We were meant to be meeting some family friends but refused to leave until Diana had walked back down the aisle a princess.

"My sister and I had identical 'Lady Di haircuts', which were a bit wavier than the Spencer style but it was the only way my mum could convince us to have our long straggly locks cut off.

"Along with my hopes of owning a ra-ra skirt and my sister's of possessing a disco suit (she's still not sure what a disco suit actually is), we shared a dream of becoming princesses.

"We spent years practicing being royal, which involved wearing petticoats on our heads, and doing curtsies.

"The wedding of Lady Diana Spencer to Prince Charles was compulsive viewing to an eight-year-old romantic and her six-year-old sister. The long and puffy ivory dress with frills, bows and a flowing train was the ideal wedding gown as far as I was concerned.

"It made up for my mum's late '60s high-neck flowing white wedding dress (with red wine stain) which was hugely disappointing in its plainness.

"As the marriage faded I lost my enthusiasm for frills, marriage and the royal family in general. I took very little notice of the royal divorce or the following events, until my 25th birthday when I had little choice - it was the day she died.