Kate Middleton: To Obey or Succeed?

Amidst the frenzy surrounding the upcoming Royal Wedding and what Kate will wear, Salon.com addresses a more important point: What will Middleton say?

When Kate Middleton walks down the aisle to wed Prince William on April 29, spectators around the world will be hanging on her every word. And the one they’ll be listening for in particular isn’t “love” or “cherish.” It’s “obey” … in 1981, William’s mother Diana dropped it from her vows to Prince Charles. But five years later, Sarah Ferguson slipped the word back into her wedding vows to Prince Andrew. And in 1999, Sophie Rhys-Jones did likewise when she tied the knot to Prince Edward.

According to Salon, the Palace is remaining mum about whether Kate will “obey” or not, along with most other details of the wedding. Archbishop Rowan Williams (who will marry the couple) and his Archbishops’ Council issued a report back in 2006 that labeled the word as outdated.

However, I would not be surprised if Kate did opt to keep the word in her vows. After all, for Kate it has been one sacrifice or compromise after the other, from abandoning the notion of a career to putting a stop to her photography exhibition. Middleton seems only too willing to prove to Queen Elizabeth that she is no Diana.

What I am more interested in than William and Kate changing language in their vows is whether or not they work to change a 300-year-old tradition giving preference to sons over daughters for royal succession.

In January of this year, Keith Vaz, Labour Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, introduced legislation which would “remove any distinction between the sexes in determining the succession to the Crown.” Vaz stated that, “Britain is an egalitarian country and this should be reflected in our succession rules.” An endorsement from any of the royals could give the law a real chance of passing.

With the law as it currently stands, if Kate and William have a daughter, she will immediately be passed over for the throne if they subsequently have a son.

Forget about who Kate swears to “obey” or not. If there is anything this couple must use their clout to change right away, it is legislation that denies women access to power simply because of their gender. That is seriously outdated.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons through Creative Commons.


  1. This preference for male succession is absurd especially since the most growth and peace has occurred during the reigns of incredible female monarchs – Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth II.

  2. anushayspoint says:

    Could not agree more!

  3. rose orozco says:

    I say do both, fight to remove any distinction between the sexes in determining the succession to the crown and take away the word "obey" from the wedding bows. This is the year 2011 and I am getting tired of reading this. We should be beyond this.

  4. I think they're more worried about the dominions re-thinking the Monarchy when they're called to have a referendum on the issue. Besides, if a dominion refuses when the others pass the ammendment it would pretty problematic.

  5. I read on BBC that she will say love, honor and keep …. but not obey.

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