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Meghan Markle expected to drop ‘obey’ from her wedding vows

Posted on by Beyond Bespoke

Meghan Markle proclaimed that she wishes to 'hit the ground running' in her work to empower both girls and women in the UK. As has been demonstrated by her work on equality, the former actress has been completely committed to the cause, having previously been a UN women's advocate. It is perhaps no surprise then, that she has chosen to omit 'obey' from her wedding vows.

Meghan Markle is not expected to include
Meghan Markle is not expected to include “obey” in her vows (Chris Jackson/PA)

Recent royal tradition has been for royal brides not to pledge to obey their husbands.

The Duchess of Cambridge did not in 2011, and neither did Harry’s mother the Princess of Wales in 1981 when she married the Prince of Wales.

Prince William and Kate Middleton take their vows during their wedding at Westminster Abbey (Dave Thompson/PA)
Prince William and Kate Middleton take their vows during their wedding at Westminster Abbey (Dave Thompson/PA)

Harry and Ms Markle will probably choose the Alternative Services: Series One (1966) Book of Common Prayer ceremony, just as William and Kate did.

It allows the bride not to say “obey him” and “serve him” during the religious proceedings, but still retains traditional language.

The Prince and Princess of Wales at the High Altar in front of the Archbishop of Canterbury during their wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral (PA)
The Prince and Princess of Wales at the High Altar in front of the Archbishop of Canterbury during their wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral (PA)

Kate pledged to “love, comfort, honour and keep” William when they married in Westminster Abbey.

The Queen, her sister Princess Margaret, and daughter the Princess Royal all said they would obey their husbands.

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh leaving Westminster Abbey after their wedding ceremony (PA)
Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh leaving Westminster Abbey after their wedding ceremony (PA)

Writing your own wedding vows is seen as something of an American tradition.

Hollywood actors Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt exchanged personal vows during their Malibu wedding in 2000, with Aniston promising to always make Pitt’s favourite banana milkshake and Pitt vowing to split the difference on the thermostat.

They went on to divorce five years later.

Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, who wed in 2000 (PA)
Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, who wed in 2000 (PA)

But the personal vow option is not open to Harry and LA-born Ms Markle, who wed in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on May 19.

According to the Church of England, the words of a marriage service are set in law and cannot be re-written or changed in any way for legal reasons.

Harry and Ms Markle will have personalised their ceremony by choosing the readings, any poetry and the music, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is conducting the service. There will also be a sermon.

Ms Markle was baptised and confirmed by the archbishop in March ready for her religious wedding ceremony, in a secret service the Most Revd Justin Welby described as “beautiful” and “very special”.

The bride and groom will undoubtedly want to ensure their wedding follows tradition, with Harry’s grandmother the Queen – who is head of the Church of England – attending.