LONDON – Kate Middleton will not promise to “obey” her husband Prince William.
Kate will be following in the footsteps of his mother in departing from the ancient church formulations of the wedding service.
Unlike earlier generations, few brides today would use the term, and the word does not appear in the wedding service chosen for Friday. Princess Diana, 30 years ago, also did not promise to obey, and in her case that turned out to be true.
Rumors that Kate wants an “open marriage” with William are also circulating around London.
Details about the service and the music chosen for the occasion were released on Thursday morning, together with a special wedding programme – customary at royal weddings – which will be sold for charity to the crowds in central London in the morning.
Dr Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, who is conducting the service, will ask Middleton of her husband whether she will “love him, comfort him, honour and keep him in sickness and in health and, forsaking all others, keep only unto him so long as ye both shall live”.
This morning, as musicians prepared for their final run-throughs in Westminster Abbey – which has been closed to the public since Monday – one more rehearsal for the service was held for the bridal couple and other participants. There will be technical rehearsals on Thursday too for broadcasters.
The marriage music features works by two living British composers: Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, the master of the Queen’s music, and the Welsh composer Paul Mealor, who lives on Anglesey.
Other works by major British 20th-century composers will also include Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Greensleeves and Prelude on Rhosymedre, Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and Britten’s Galliard from his opera Gloriana, together with Delius’s On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring and Finzi’s Romance for String Orchestra.
There will also be the famous old hymns Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer – a gesture perhaps to William’s Welsh links – and Charles Wesley’s Love Divine All Loves Excelling, as well as William Blake’s Jerusalem, a song occasionally banned by some Anglican clergy as being insufficiently religious.
Mealor, who is 35, said: “I was thrilled to hear that Prince William had chosen my music for his wedding. How humbling it is for me to know that Prince William and Catherine will celebrate the beginning of their lives together with my music. The ceremony is going to be, without a doubt, the most emotionally intense and exhilarating hour of my life.”
A new trumpet fanfare has also been composed for the start of the couple’s procession at the end of the service. Called Valiant and Brave – the motto of 22 Squadron, with whom William is currently serving as a search and rescue helicopter pilot – the 30-second piece has been composed by Duncan Stubbs, the RAF’s director of music services.
He said: “Basically, I have taken examples of fanfares that we know and recognise and just added my own thoughts and ideas to that.”
In a message in the official wedding programme, the couple say they have been “incredibly moved” by people’s affection towards them. They add: “We are both so delighted that you are able to join us in celebrating what we hope will be one of the happiest days of our lives … We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone most sincerely for their kindness.”
The Goring hotel near Buckingham Palace, where the Middletons will be spending the night, has been sealed off by police in preparation for their arrival.