Sophie, Countess of Wessex promised to “obey” her husband as in the traditional Anglican vows, as did Sarah Ferguson back in 1986. However, Princess Diana had this word removed from her wedding vows. According to an ‘Unseen Video’ uploaded to YouTube by Icons in October 2017, this was a surprise to many, especially as Sophie was a self-confident 33-year-old woman with her own life and career.
Sophie had launched her own PR agency, was living with Edward in Buckingham Palace and was “set for a very modern royal marriage”.
But according to Reverend Peter Nott, Bishop of Norwich, these two things are not incompatible. He said: “To say obey does not mean that you’re going to be subservient.
“It means that there may be certain decisions – maybe only one or two in a lifetime – which, by definition, you can’t agree on.
“Nearly every decision is a shared one, but it’s then that the wife says ‘I trust you to make a decision for the good of family’.”
Nevertheless, the inclusion of “obey” in her vows was considered a “concession to tradition” in what was otherwise a more modern affair.
Sophie broke royal protocol in many ways at her wedding.
For example, Sophie insisted women were banned from wearing hats to the wedding ceremony and kept the ceremony relatively low-key.
Instead of gathering in Westminster Abbey or St Paul’s Cathedral, Sophie and Edward opted for a more informal occasion at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
However, Brides’ Magazine editor Sandra Boler said she thought the decision to ban hats was not necessarily a step into the modern age.
She said: “I don’t think it’s more modern exactly, I just think it’s more European, more continental, more to do with the world, rather than England.”
To match their low-key wedding, Sophie and Edward adopted the titles Earl and Countess of Wessex and announced that any children they had would be styled as children of an Earl, rather than a Prince or Princess.
This came to fruition in 2003 when Sophie gave birth to Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn, in 2007.
At the time of their wedding, Sophie was compared to the late Princess of Wales due to her “striking resemblance” to the beloved royal.
However, according to the ‘Unseen video’, their looks are where the comparisons ended.
Sarah Ferguson, also known as Fergie, married the Duke of York on July 23, 1986 and prior to their royal wedding, Sarah revealed she would follow tradition and say “obey”.
However, she stated that she wasn’t going to be a meek wife and viewed the word “obey” in different terms.
″I was thinking of obeying in moral terms, as opposed to physically obeying. But I am not the sort of woman who is going to meekly trot along behind her husband,″ Fergie told Press Association’s court correspondent Tom Corby.
She then added: ″When I want to, I will stress a point. When we have a dilemma to resolve or we find ourselves in a situation which needs a decision, then it will be Andrew who will take the lead because he is the man of the marriage. Therefore in that sense, I will obey him at one stage or another.”