Sophie, Countess of Wessex, surprised everyone when she promised to obey Prince Edward in their wedding vows. Sarah Ferguson also did the same thing when she married Prince Andrew, but Princess Diana omitted the word when she wed Prince Charles.

According to Rt. Reverend Peter Nott, the Bishop of Norwich, said that including the word in the wedding vows doesn’t mean that Sophie will be subservient to her husband.

“It means that there may be certain decisions – may be 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 the family,’” he said.

Sophie and Prince Edward’s wedding was also regarded as a modern affair because of their backgrounds. As such, when Sophie opted to include the word obey in her vows, it was regarded as a concession to tradition.

Meanwhile, Ferguson also explained her decision to include the controversial word to her wedding vows. During her interview with the Associated Press, she said that even though she will be obeying Prince Andrew, this doesn’t mean that she will be a meek bride.

“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 the husband… When I want to, I will stress the point… When we have a dilemma to resolve or we find ourselves in a situation that 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,” she explained.

When Princess Diana tied the knot with Prince Charles in 1981, she purposely removed the word obey from her wedding vows. The bold move was regarded as a statement from the late royal suggesting that she will be making her own decisions in their marriage.

Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex
Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex visit the Tomorrow's People Social Enterprises at St Anselm's Church, Kennington on the Countess's 50th birthday on January 20, 2015 in London. Getty Images/Max Mumby