Kate Middleton may only pledge “to love and to cherish” but not “obey” Prince William when she chooses her wedding vows.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who will marry the couple at Westminster Abbey April 29, said the centuries-old tradition of “obeying” one’s husband was “sexist and outdated”.
Royal aides, meanwhile, said the couple have chosen their vows they will use, but want to keep their decision under wraps, according to the Daily Mail.
Guidelines published by the Archbishops’ Council said a wife promising to “obey” her husband was an “archaic notion” and could even be used to justify domestic violence.
The 2006 report – “Responding to Domestic Abuse” – 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.”
William’s grandmother, the Queen, and his aunt, Princess Anne, used at their weddings the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, which requires women to promise to “love, cherish and obey”.
Diana and Charles, William’s parents, broke the tradition in 1981 by turning to the 1928 Series I Alternative Marriage Rite of the Church of England, in which the bride omits “obey”.
But Diana, then 20, failed to set a trend among royals. Sarah Ferguson who wed Prince Andrew and Sophie Rhys-Jones who wed Prince Edward promised to obey in 1986 and 1999 respectively.