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Lew Tassell At Charles & Diana’s Wedding

October 16, 2018
by the gentle author

We join Detective Constable Lew Tassell of the Fraud Squad on duty on the roof of Ludgate House for the wedding of His Royal Highness Prince Charles & Lady Diana Spencer on 29th July 1981, thanks to his personal photographs published here for the first time

The view from Ludgate Circus at dawn

“In July 1981, I was a Detective Constable in the City of London Police attached to the Fraud Squad at Wood St Police Station. The City of London force was quite small and an occasion such as a royal wedding required every officer to be involved, as well as drafting officers from other forces for the day.

On the day of the wedding, I was based in Ludgate House on the north-west quadrant of Ludgate Circus. The night before I walked to Hyde Park to watch the fireworks and then back along the route to Wood St, where I spent the night sleeping on the floor of my office before a very early morning start. Following a shower and wearing my best suit, I walked to Snow Hill Police Station for a 5:45am muster.

Then I walked to Ludgate House taking my camera along. The procession along the Strand to St Paul’s did not just involve royalty and the military but also celebrities. The crowd loved that. Spike Milligan held the proceedings up on at least a couple of occasions in Fleet St and Ludgate Hill by stopping the car to interact with the crowd.

Although it was extra to my duties as an investigator in the Fraud Squad, I really enjoyed all the state duties I was involved with and I felt it was a privilege – I certainly got to meet some interesting people.”

Ludgate Hill

NBC TV crew on the roof of Ludgate House

Fleet St

Ludgate Circus

The Queen & Prince Philip

Prince Charles & Prince Andrew

Earl Spencer on the way to the Cathedral with Diana

Awaiting the return procession

Charles & Diana

India Hicks, thirteen-year-old bridesmaid

The Queen Mother & Prince Andrew

Princess Anne & Princess Margaret

The Duke & Duchess of Kent

Princess Alexandra & Sir Angus Ogilvy

Detective Constable Lew Tassell of the Fraud Squad, 1981

Photographs copyright © Lew Tassell

You may also like to take a look at

On Night Patrol With Lew Tassell

On Top Of Britannic House With Lew Tassell

A Walk Around The Docks With Lew Tassell

8 Responses leave one →
  1. Jill Wilson permalink
    October 16, 2018

    I was there and what a special occasion it was! We camped over night in the Mall and walked the route to St Paul’s in the early morning to soak up the atmosphere. The cheering started at about 5 am when the first cleaning carts came along and the excitement and crowds built up from then on. One of the nicest things about that sort of occasion is the rapport you build up with the policeman who is guarding your part of the crowd – although unlike Lew they had to face us and so didn’t get to see any of the Royals themselves. Great photos and very special memories – thank you!

  2. Amanda permalink
    October 16, 2018

    Thank you for capturing the nostalgia of this day in such a brilliant and unique way. The views and close ups are spectacular.
    As a Londoner living in the Canary Islands in 1981 l was almost bursting with pride watching the TV on a high stool reserved for me by Spanish the café owner with a tea towel. The Spanish were equally excited because they adored “Lady Dee” as they fondly referred to her then.
    There is nothing like watching your town and your country”s pageantry from across the world and describing our traditions such as the black stallions of the Horseguards.
    In the 70s and 80s we met up with pals who worked in the City in one of the ancient Fleet Street taverns and l marvelled then at the history l was part of. l always appreciated my birthplace.

    Today l had forgotten about SHARATON’s Patisseries – a favourite place to buy a cream slice forty years ago, and there is a branch in your photo.
    l love the footmen giggling with Sir Angus Ogilvy who l THINK maybe wearing the red tunics of the City of London WATERMEN?

    And last but not least, there you are looking as sharp and immaculate as you did in uniform. Readers will not be surprised to find you have been promoted to DC.

    This was the happiest era of my life and l thank you for the unexpected reminder of MY London of which l will never tire.
    Thanks too for TGA.

  3. Richard Smith permalink
    October 16, 2018

    Great pictures but tinged of course by what happened to Lady Diana. Do we really know what happened in Paris that night? Do we really know the whole story?

  4. Helen Breen permalink
    October 16, 2018

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, what a treat to see those great shots from the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. Lew must have cut quite a figure on the occasion too.

    Appropriate given the two recent royal weddings. Agreed, no one does pageantry like the Brits!

  5. October 16, 2018

    He certainly got about!

    One of the photos shows red, white and blue periscopes for seeing over the heads in front of you. When I was a schoolboy I had a place outside Westminster Abbey for Princess Margaret’s wedding and had a grey one with a 1/4″ screw on top for a camera, must find the negs.

  6. October 16, 2018

    Amazing. All these pictures of Lew Tassell’s you shared must be compiled into a book.

  7. Hélène permalink
    October 17, 2018

    I was there too with my sister who had come over from France for the occasion. Great day even if we didn’t see much because of the crowd.

  8. Michael permalink
    February 10, 2021

    I was there. My girl-friend (at the time) and I slept in The Mall overnight. I’d parked my car in a side road by Aldwych. Morning of the wedding, seeing cars being towed away I was lucky mine wasn’t, ‘wedged’ as it was between two police cars. When we left, and got into the car, a policeman told me to drive the wrong way along Aldwych as the roads were still closed.

    Fabulous atmosphere.

    Thank for these photos.

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