Queen Elizabeth II tied the knot with Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey in November 1947. But the couple, who were married for 73-years until the Duke of Edinburgh passed away in April, decided to include a controversial line in their wedding vows that would be overlooked by future Royal brides.
While the Church of England removed the bride’s promise to “obey” their soon-to-be husband in 1928, Her Majesty pledged “to love, to cherish, and to obey” Prince Philip.
The decision sparked controversy as it was the then Princess who would become the monarch, not the Duke of Edinburgh.
According to reports from 1947, Elizabeth eventually decided to include the reference as a sign of her love and devotion to her husband.
The controversy has since been re-enacted in Netflix’s series ‘The Crown’.
During the scene, Winston Churchill – played by John Lithgow – and Clementine Churchill – played by Harriet Walter – questioned the use of the more traditional line.
“To obey?,” Clementine asked the then recently ousted war hero Prime Minister.
Netflix’s Mr Churchill replied: “She insisted, it was discussed.”
But at the time, the Dean of Westminster Abbey defended the decision when he said: “Marriage is the kind of relationship where there should be two equal partners, and if there is going to be a dominant partner, it won’t be settled by this oath.”
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“I think this is much more Christian,” he added.
Despite the controversy at the time, it has since been noted that other royal brides have dropped the “to obey” line.
Princess Diana was amongst the most notable royal bridges to have promised only “to love and to cherish” when she tied the knot with Prince Charles in 1981.
Royal experts Roberta Fiorito and Rachel Bowie said that Diana’s decision was potentially “a foreshadowing” of their future relationship.
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But Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle also decided not to promise the controversial line to William and Harry respectively.
The Duchess of Cambridge married Prince William in 2011, whereas, the estranged Duchess of Sussex married Prince Harry in 2019.
Camilla Parker-Bowles also omitted the traditional commitment during her civil wedding to the Prince of Wales in 2005.
However, not all current Royals decided to drop those controversial two words.
Princess Anne made the more traditional vow during her marriage to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973.
As did Sophie Wessex when she wedded Prince Edward in 1999.