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In pictures: A history of royal weddings

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Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth's grandson and the sixth in line to the British throne, is due to marry American actress Meghan Markle on Saturday at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.

CNBC takes a look back at royal weddings through the years and how they have transformed into global events.

A break from tradition

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King George VI's marriage to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was a public affair. Crowds lined the streets as the two were married at Westminster Abbey in April 1923. It took three proposals to persuade the mother of the current reigning monarch, Elizabeth II.

A royal scandal

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George's older brother ascended to the throne as Edward VIII upon the death of their father in 1936. However, later that year Edward abdicated the throne so he could marry divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.

The current queen

The royal family at the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
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Queen Elizabeth II married Philip Mountbatten, the Duke of Edinburgh, on Nov. 20, 1947. An estimated 200 million people listened to the Westminster Abbey ceremony on radio. Elizabeth was 21 years old.

TV's first royal wedding

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Elizabeth's only sibling, Princess Margaret, married Antony Armstrong-Jones in the spring of 1960. It was the first royal wedding to be broadcast on television, and more than 20 million viewers tuned in to watch it. They divorced in 1978.

A new generation

Thirteen years after Margaret's wedding, it was the turn of a new generation as Princess Anne married Captain Mark Phillips in Westminster Abbey. The marriage was unusual in that Phillips was deemed a commoner. The couple divorced in 1992.

Charles & Diana

The 1981 wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer attracted an estimated global TV audience of 750 million. The couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996. Media attention and public grief were extensive after her death in a car crash in a Paris tunnel on Aug. 31, 1997.

The Duke & Duchess of York

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In 1986, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson married at Westminster Abbey. Watching from the comfort of your own home was now well understood, and the event attracted a reported 500 million watchers. They divorced in 1996.

Away from Westminster

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Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones at St. George's Chapel in Windsor. In a break from tradition, the ceremony was restricted to family and friends and media coverage was curtailed.

Charles and Camilla go round again

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Prince Charles and longtime friend Camilla Parker Bowles got married in 2005 in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall. A Service of Prayer and Dedication, which took place afterward, was covered by the BBC network.

Another big event 

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Back to Westminster in 2011 for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. This time, it was a full-on affair with many comparisons made with Prince Charles's wedding to Princess Diana. Enter the digital age with 72 million livestreams recorded on YouTube.