Royal Roundup: In Wedding Vows, Kate Will Not ‘Obey’ William

Kate will not “obey” William. In their wedding vows, Kate will promise to “love, comfort, honor and keep” William, but will omit “obey.”

The first royal bride to skip “obey” was the late Princess Diana, William’s mother, who dropped the word when she married Prince Charles in 1981. But “obey” was used in subsequent royal wedding vows. Sarah Ferguson, who wed Prince Andrew in 1986, and Sophie Rhys-Jones, who married Prince Edward in 1999, both vowed obedience.

The Daily Mirror quotes one “insider” who says, “They have been together for 10 years, studied together, lived together and have the same friends. They are equals in every way, and have planned this wedding as equal partners, so for Kate to ‘obey’ doesn’t make sense.”

In other royal wedding related news:

• Yet another wedding day schedule has been released. The only difference in this one is that it includes the expected arrival times at Westminster Abbey. Those interested can find it here on the official royal wedding website. The Telegraph has a story on the procession of the five horse-drawn carriages that will be used after the ceremony.

• Many aspects of the royal wedding are just like any other except on a grander scale. The dress. The ceremony. The reception. One part of the nuptials that is different is a formal declaration from the Queen consenting to the union. The document, written in calligraphy on vellum calf skin, was unveiled yesterday (April 21) at the Crown Office at the House of Lords.

Detail from the Queen's 'Instrument of Consent'

In this photo from The Daily Mirror, one can see the Queen’s signature in the upper right, “Elizabeth R.” The “R” stands for “regina,” the official title of a reigning queen. In the pertinent part, the document consents to the marriage of “Our Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, K.G. and Our Trusty and Well-beloved Catherine Elizabeth Middleton.” Also visible on the right, is a white lily that represents St. Catherine of Siena, whose feast day falls on April 29th and with whom Middleton shares her name. Below that is William’s gold coronet, followed by a gold cipher of the couple’s entwined initials. Finally there is a Welsh leek surrounded by William’s white three-pronged second-in-line to the throne label and a tiny red escallop from the Spencer family coat of arms. William’s late mother, Princess Diana, was a member of the Spencer family.

The “instrument of consent” dates back to the 18th century. Under the Royal Marriages Act, passed in 1772, all descendants of the monarch must ask permission to wed. The law was passed at the request of King George III, who was outraged when he learned that his younger brother, the Duke of Cumberland, had secretly married Lady Anne Horton, a widow of a “commoner.”

• With its website and Twitter feed, the House of Windsor is not the only British institution that understands the digital world. So does the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop, has posted a highly-produced video on his website in which he talks about the royal couple. Complete with voice-overs, jump cuts, and music, one almost expects Harry Potter to emerge from off-screen to ask for advice fighting Lord Voldemort.

Williams will conduct the wedding ceremony. “Prince William and Catherine are making this commitment very much in the public eye and they’re sensible, realistic young people. They know what the cost of that might be,” Williams says. “Naturally, I want to wish William and Catherine every richest blessing in their life together. But I want to wish them especially the courage and clarity they’ll need to live out this big commitment in the full glare of the public eye.”

• For reasons that are not entirely clear, Kate and William have wound up on Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Ranked at no. 40, they are sandwiched between pop idol Justin Bieber and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. Somehow, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton clocks in at a mere 43. Bestselling author Jackie Collins offers a 135-word essay on the royal couple. It could not have taken her more than ten minutes to write: “During these days of politicians making promises they never keep, financial woes and doom and gloom, what better than a good old (albeit expensive) fairy-tale wedding for all to enjoy? Happy endings are hard to come by, so maybe in this case, we can fantasize that love will conquer all. Fairy tales can come true. Sometimes …”

Wedding Cake tree

• Camilla, William’s stepmother, will plant a tree to honor the royal marriage, BBC News reports. She will plant the Wedding Cake tree sapling at St. Mary’s church, which is near Highgrove, the country estate of her husband, Prince Charles. The tree takes it name from its “horizontal, tiered branches and star-shaped white flowers in the summer.” Formally known as Cornus controversa, it is a deciduous tree from Japan and Korea.

• Although they will appear on television only briefly, the preparation by the military parade units is extraordinary. There are two videos of the behind-the-scenes labors. The Telegraph has a report on the Royal Irish Guards, who also fought in Afghanistan, and BBC News looks at the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. One member of the cavalry tells the camera that the time it takes to prepare and polish their uniforms “is, in a word, ridiculous” and another soldier says it takes five hours to polish a single boot.

• With the wedding only a week away, perhaps you’re thinking of throwing a party. Brides.com has posted a “Royal Sleepover” kit. The most interesting parts of the package are the recipes and the playlist. One of the recipes is for something called “Eggs Drumkilbo,” allegedly a favorite of the late Queen Mother. Among the ingredients: lobsters, shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, sherry and unflavored gelatin. Then there’s the music. Brides.com‘s list includes everything from Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” to Spandau Ballet’s “True.” If nothing else, the playlist is sure to spark a lively discussion about what to hear next.

• Pick which item doesn’t belong. Former president Jimmy Carter’s visit to North Korea, the growing North African refugee crisis and the EU’s reaction to the influx, and the royal wedding. These are the topics of this week’s podcast by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Perhaps no organization personifies the U.S. establishment better than CFR. Consisting of about 4,300 executives, government officials, academics and journalists, CFR’s non-partisan mission is to help its members “better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.” Hello! magazine it is not. Mere mention of the royal wedding no doubt caused a harrumph or two from some members. Sadly, CFR does not bring much insight to the royal nuptials. One of the hosts wonders “How will the media behave?” while the other confesses he will likely sleep through the proceedings.