'Prince Charles wasn't happy': Insiders reveal royal wedding secrets 40 years on

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·Royal Correspondent
·3 min read
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Prince Charles & Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after their wedding ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England, July 29, 1981. (Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)
Charles and Diana on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after their wedding ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral, 29 July, 1981. (Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

The man behind Prince Charles and Diana's wedding cake has revealed it was the prince who called him to make changes to the design before the big day - after Diana had approved it.

David Avery, then head baker of the Royal Naval Cookery School, made the couple's official five-tier fruit cake which stood at 5ft tall for their July 1981 nuptials.

In a new Britbox documentary looking back at the wedding, he recalled that Diana, then 19, had approved the cake when he met her at Buckingham Palace.

He told Wedding of the Century: "I met Prince Charles when he was on Bulwark (a Navy ship) and they wanted a commissioning cake maker, and Prince Charles cut the cake.

"He pointed to me and he said 'have you made this? Beautiful cake', so I was pleased with that."

Avery said that as the Army had made Princess Anne's cake, his admiral got in touch with the palace to see if the Navy could make the Prince of Wales's cake.

Chief petty officer cook David Avery with the royal wedding cake made for Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding, 29th July 1981. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
Chief petty officer cook David Avery with the royal wedding cake made for Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding. (Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

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He said: "I was at the Royal Navy cookery school teaching baking to the boys, and I got told I was doing the wedding cake, but I couldn't say anything to anyone until the press release. 

"I was pleased about it at the beginning to be picked to make the future king and queen's wedding cake. But as it went on I was worried I'd be for the tower if anything went wrong."

He added: "I met Diana at Buckingham Palace to show her the design, she was so nice, I was apprehensive, but that's what she said to me, 'I was apprehensive of meeting you and it's been a pleasure'.

"She said all she wanted was a wedding cake, she didn't want a monument. Diana had seen the plan, everything was fine and then we got a phone call, Prince Charles wasn't happy.

"All it was, is that they used to name him the red dragon. I had to put the crest of the red dragon on the front of the cake, that was the only change from everything we had designed."

LONDON - JULY 29: Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles ride in a carriage after their wedding at St. Paul's Cathedral July 29, 1981 in London, England.   (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Charles and Diana in carriage after their wedding at St. Paul's Cathedral. They divorced in 1996. (Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
The Prince and Princess of Wales seated during their wedding at St Paul's Cathedral.   (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
One of the lamps had its shade knocked off by the over enthusiastic choirmaster Barry Rose. (PA Images via Getty Images)

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Avery said he used his mother's fruit cake recipe, but with a few extra things added. 

The bottom layer was so big it took 12 hours to bake.

They also made two cakes, in order to test how the huge creation, which weighed 200lb, would stand up. It was in Buckingham Palace for three days before the wedding. 

Former royal florist David Longman told the programme Diana was "like any other bride" adding that she was "excited and intrigued" when he met her to decide her bouquet.

Longman said that the wedding dress designers, David and Elizabeth Emmanuel, were so discreet about the design they wouldn't even offer him details, despite him putting together the royal bouquet. 

And Barry Rose, the choirmaster at St Paul's also shared that he had become so excited in the lead-up to the ceremony that he had knocked one of the lampshades off while conducting.

The Wedding of the Century, including restored footage of Charles and Diana's wedding, is available on Britbox from 15 July.

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