Following the lead of Princess Diana, who took the similarly eschewed the word when she married Prince Charles in 1981, Kate Middleton will not promise to "obey" Prince William in her wedding vows, according to a report in the Daily Mail. It is a word that is very old-school, and often excluded from modern weddings, but for the Royals, Princess Diana's decision broke with protocol and caused controversy.
Given that this is not the first time a royal wedding will remove the word "obey" from the vows, Kate Middleton is likely to face less flak than Princess Di did. However, others that followed Di kept the "obey" vow in their weddings. Sarah Ferguson and Sophie Rhys-Jones both promised to obey, in 1986 and 1999 respectively.
That said, the report indicated that the soon-to-be royal couple has agreed together what they will say in their vows. Middleton will promise that she will "love, comfort, honor and keep" her new husband.
Prince William, 28, and Kate Middleton, 29, will marry at Westminster Abbey in just seven days. They reportedly made a decision regarding the content of their vows two weeks ago, but have kept the wording a secret.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who will marry the couple, told the Mail that a wife pledging to "obey" her husband and not vice-versa "is archaic and could even be used to justify domestic violence." Guidelines published by the Archbishop's Council in 2006 said: "A promise to obey was in the past part of different standards and expectations of women and men within marriage, for example the fact that women had no standing in law until 1926."
Not all are in agreement regarding the use, or omission of the word "obey," though. The Right Reverend Peter Nott said: "It is a mistaken assumption that when a bride says she will obey it means she is going to be subservient. It is to do with trust, and with listening, and to recognise that in a family you have different functions.
"There are times when the husband will rightly obey the wife because she knows better and is the lead in that area. The partnership is equal and leadership in a good marriage always shifts. I think obey means 'I trust you to make decisions that are for the good of the family.' It’s no big deal."
Image Source: Royal Wedding Site