Princess Diana's Bridesmaid India Hicks Shares Why She Decided to Wed Her Partner After 26 Years and 5 Kids

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india hicks wedding
india hicks wedding

David Loftus for India Hicks David Flint Wood and India Hicks

Weddings have been part of India Hicks' life since she was a bridesmaid at Princess Diana's royal nuptials to Prince Charles in 1981. And after 26 years with her partner, Hicks had her turn to walk down the aisle when she tied the knot with her longtime love last year.

Hicks, 54, opened up to BRIDES' The Royals digital issue about her love story with David Flint Wood, from turning down his marriage proposal while they were expecting their first child (they now have five!) to how coronavirus lockdown caused her to rethink the situation.

"This could not be called a whirlwind romance," the British designer, writer and entrepreneur said, describing how she first knew David as a friend of her sister's before kissing during a charity event in the Bahamas years later.

When she was in her late 20s, Hicks returned to the Bahamas and learned that Flint Wood was nearby.

"I decided to try to find him. David calls this our Casablanca moment," she recalled. "Of all the gin joints in all the world, I walked into his. He was running a small hotel, and I decided to stay."

RELATED: Princess Diana's Bridesmaid India Hicks Recounts Racism Experienced by Her Black Son: 'It's Appalling'

A few months later, Hicks discovered she was pregnant and Flint Wood proposed.

india hicks wedding
india hicks wedding

David Loftus for India Hicks David Flint Wood and India Hicks

Hicks remembered, "I said "No, thank you." (In my mind, I was saying, "I'm a strong, independent woman! I don't need to get married!" Which is what I said for 26 years, until suddenly I didn't.)"

In addition to living and parenting together, the couple also worked together in designing The Landing Hotel.

"In renovating that property, David and I really came together on our vision of what island life was," she said. "We continued this way for many happy years, working on projects together and apart, traveling for work and for pleasure, whilst doing all we could to guide our children as they grew, graduated and launched careers of their own."

Everything changed when the COVID-19 pandemic began. While they spent the lockdown together "reading and cooking, fighting over intense games of monopoly, celebrating birthdays, laughing, and crying," Hicks recalled that their children had a lot of questions about the state of the world.

India Hicks
India Hicks

David Loftus for India Hicks David Flint Wood and India Hicks

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"The world felt very turbulent, very unstable, and the future looked very unpredictable. I wanted something grounding and anchoring not just for my children but also for myself," she said. "I suggested we get married."

Though even her children noted that getting married felt "unlike" her, the wedding day was a joyous and special celebration.

"I didn't really expect being married to feel any different than not being married. We had been locked in a loving relationship for 26 years already," she recalled. "But it took my breath away to find how spiritual it felt to walk into the church on the arm of my eldest son and to say those vows to David in front of all our friends and family, in the church where I had been christened and where my father lay buried just outside."

She continued, "It felt intensely intimate. I hadn't expected to say those words, 'till death do us part,' and for them to mean something. And they really did, mean something."