Princess Diana Blazed a Path for Daughters-in-Law Kate and Meghan by Omitting This Traditional Element From Her Wedding Ceremony

Although just 20 years old when she married into the royal family, Princess Diana possessed wisdom way beyond her years. The former Lady Diana Spencer had strong feelings about how she believed she could make a difference in the staid institution. One of these was on display during Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles, which took place on July 29, 1981. Diana altered one traditional element from her wedding ceremony and set a precedent for future daughters-in-law Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, who followed suit.

Kate Middleton, Princess Diana, and Meghan Markle in side by side photos on their respective wedding days.
Kate Middleton, Princess Diana, and Meghan Markle | Mike Marsland/Terry Fincher/Ben Stansall/Getty Images

Princess Diana broke many barriers for women in the royal family

Little did Prince Charles know upon asking the then-lady Diana Spencer to be his bride that he would unleash a quiet lion into the monarchy.

The royal family found her the perfect bride for the future king: young, beautiful, and malleable — or so they thought.

Instead of the quiet young woman they believed would remain dutiful to her husband, Diana broke many royal stigmas throughout her marriage.

These included getting up close with the public, giving birth in the hospital versus the palace, allowing her children to live lives as ordinary as possible, and most of all, showing empathy for others outside of her position,

Princess Diana forged a path for Kate and Meghan by omitting this traditional wedding element from her ceremony

With her soon-to-be husband’s full support, Diana omitted the word “obey” from her vows on her wedding day to Charles, reported The New York Times.

This change was unprecedented within royal circles.

Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, and a long line of royal brides included the word ”obey” in their wedding vows.

They followed a traditional Anglican Book of Common Prayer dating from 1662.

However, in a ceremony held at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Diana promised Charles to ”love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and health.”

The couple reportedly had “earnest” discussions on the issue “before deciding to do what most modern English couples do.”

Daughters-in-law Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle also did not use the word “obey” in their vows.

Other surprising details regarding the wedding ceremony of Princess Diana and Prince Charles

Diana’s official page on the royal family’s website claimed she was the first Englishwoman to marry an heir to the throne in 300 years.

Anne Hyde preceded the Princess of Wales by marrying the future James II in 1660.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Runcie, and the Dean of St Paul’s performed the marriage. Clergy from other denominations read prayers as well.

Diana had five bridesmaids. Princes Andrew and Edward were The Prince of Wales’s Supporters.

Supporters are a royal custom in place of the title of Best Man.

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