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At the time of Charles and Diana’s union in 1981, India was just 13 years old, and two years before the ceremony she was left heartbroken after her grandfather Lord Mountbatten and cousin Nicholas were killed in an IRA terror attack.
The loss of her relatives struck young India, who claimed she was given Valium in the aftermath to help her cope with the deaths.
But as she became a teenager, India was poised to take centre stage, in one of the world’s most watched TV occasions.
Princess Diana’s bridesmaid India Hicks ‘horrified’ at prospect of royal wedding request
India Dicks alongside others at Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding
She recalled how the wedding – seen globally by an audience of around 750 million – was her “worst hair day ever”, and prior to the event thought “chopping off my waist-length hair was an excellent idea… it was not”.
India noted that when Charles had called to see if she was interested in being a bridesmaid she was “initially horrified”.
Describing herself as a “13-year-old tomboy, never out of jodhpurs”, India was concerned that she would have to wear a dress for the special occasion.
Yet, because Charles was a “remarkable” godfather, she wanted to answer his call, and opted to be part of the wedding.
India Hicks waves to the crowds
Writing for the Daily Mail in 2017, India said: “I adored him; still do.
“So, despite my reservations about the dress, I glowed with pride to have been asked, especially as my mother, Lady Pamela Mountbatten, had been a bridesmaid at the wedding of the then Princess Elizabeth to Philip Mountbatten in 1947.”
Although the day went off without a hitch for India, she did confess to having “two terrible regrets from that day”, including missing having a piece of the wedding cake.
And in a brilliant twist of fate, decades later India would eventually get her hands on the delicious desert.
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India Hicks with her mother Lady Pamela Hicks
She wrote: “However, 30-odd years later, an ardent Diana fan followed me to a speaking event I was giving and pushed through the throng to press into my hand a box and a note. Inside was a piece of that wedding cake, perfectly preserved.
“My second regret was missing the grand ball hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace on the evening of the wedding. It was to be my first ball and even though it meant another dress and my toes were crushed from wearing the buttercup yellow shoes all day, I wanted to go.
“Just beforehand, I lay down on my mother’s bed to shut my eyes for a moment – and woke up the following morning having missed everything.”
Sadly, Charles and Diana’s marriage would eventually end in divorce in 1996, with the Princess of Wales tragically dying a year later.
Lady Pamela Hicks
The wedding was fictionalised within Netflix drama The Crown, as was Lord Mountbatten’s death in 1979.
The explosion killed Nicholas, Lord Mountbatten’s daughter Patricia’s mother-in-law Lady Bradbourne, as well as a 15-year-old crew member called Paul Maxwell.
The incident occurred while he was on holiday at Classiebawn Castle near Mullaghmore in County Sligo in the Republic of Ireland, where he stayed each summer with both his daughters’ families.
Royal Family tree
Last year, India spoke of how moving the recreation of the moment was in The Crown.
According to the Daily Star, India added: “The Crown, I know the first two episodes, maybe the first three – focus on the murder of my grandfather, by the IRA.
“Apparently, it’s very, very powerful those first two episodes. So this whole series of The Crown, for me, is a deeply personal one.”
My Years with the Queen is available to stream on ITV Hub.