December 3, 2011

{Did You Know?} No. 7: "To Obey"

[Did You Know? is a random series of posts highlighting facts and folklore about brides, weddings & courtship. To read other posts, click on Did You Know? in the Labels list below.]


Did you know that Prince William’s parents also removed “to obey” from their wedding vows as he and Catherine Middleton had done last spring? This remnant of the Middle Ages (and part of the 17th century Book of Common Prayer) was being removed from wedding vows left ’n right as the feminist movement of the 1960s spread into modern culture....but it took a little longer for the removal of “to obey” to enter the custom of the British monarchy.

Here is an excerpt from the Prologue of my upcoming book -- THE END OF THE FAIRY-TALE BRIDE: Princess Diana's Legacy Reframed {Shattering the Princess Myth & Freeing the Damsel in Distress} -- that shares the ground-breaking moment during Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding ceremony and what the Archbishop of Canterbury advised:


Diana’s entrance into the rich splendor of St. Paul’s interior was announced by a fanfare from trumpeters high in the cathedral’s dome...perhaps a heralding sign of changes to come. And the bride and groom made royal history with a break in tradition even before becoming husband and wife. Removing some outdated words from the Church of England’s 1662 Book of Common Prayer, as the couple stood before the archbishop of Canterbury, and witnessed by a large population of the world, the bride’s marriage vows did not include the promise “to obey.”

An article in The Washington Post a few days before the wedding reported that the archbishop of Canterbury revealed “the decision to drop this vow was made very quickly in his discussion of the service with Charles and Diana and that he told them, the usual clergyman’s joke. ‘It’s a bad thing to start your marriage off with a downright lie.’ He told reporters that many couples now omit the vow, which was a remnant from the Middle Ages, when a wife would pledge ‘to be bonny and buxom in bed and board,’” Downie’s byline from London added.
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[To read other Did You Know? posts in this series, click on Did You Know? in the Labels list below. Another one coming soon....]

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