Just over two months after the engagement announcement, on 6 May 1960, Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones married, watched by their 2,000 invited guests and for the first time ever, the nation. According to the BBC, ’20 million people in the UK’ tuned in to watch the couple celebrate their nuptials, whilst those watching ‘in Australia, Canada and the USA took the total viewing figures to 300 million’. Alongside the viewing figures, many also lined the streets, with members of the public camping out along the processional route, from Clarence House to Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, the night before, in hopes of catching a glimpse of Princess Margaret on the way to the church. Media reporting on the royal wedding emphasised the public’s support for the couple, making note of the crowds waving and cheering. In light of Margaret’s previous tumultuous relationship, those reporting also highlighted the couple’s marriage as ‘so obviously a love match’ as they reached the ‘climax of [their] royal romance’. Televising the royal wedding allowed the celebrations to be accessible to everyone, both to those in the UK and abroad who simply couldn’t make the journey to be there in person.
The televising of the Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones’s wedding set the tone for a new landscape of media access to the royal family’s private lives and affairs. Although the public had always been informed of important events such as births, engagements and weddings in the past, this new level of access where the public could be right there in the action set a new expectation that the public should be involved in large events in the future. Indeed, since broadcasting of royal weddings began, they have remained some of the most watched moments in television history. However, some 60 years since the first televised wedding, it can now be seen that certain members of the royal family have started to actively avoid the media in order to keep some sense of their lives private. The rise of tabloid press alongside major milestones in media such as the televised wedding gave the royal family a celebrity status which now can be seen as a negative rather than a positive. That being said, televising Princess Margaret’s wedding has undoubtedly assisted the royal family in the long run, allowing a new platform for public support and adoration.