I have to admit that I am not a keen follower of Royal Weddings, but news of a slight change to the marriage vows in the service got me interested.
Apparently, Kate is not going to promise to obey William (no surprise there) but instead she is going to promise 'keep him'.
Is this a new liturgical expression that has found its way into the Church of England's biggest wedding of the year? And what does it mean? Is Kate promising to 'keep him' in the style to which he has become accustomed? I think that highly unlikely - as heir to the throne, surely it will be him 'keeping her' in the manner to which he is accustomed!
The word, of course, is not new - it appears in the 1662 Prayer Book where it is the groom who promises to "love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her".
Does that mean that they will be both be making the same promises to each other? For goodness sake, I hope so! The alternative, in the traditional language of the Prayer Book would have been for her to "obey him, and serve him, love, honour and keep him" which is a bit of a non-starter if you want an equal marriage.
Equal promises are the foundation of modern marriage vows, which see marriage as a partnership of equals, rather than a hierarchy of obedience.
But there are those for whom this concept is sacrilege! Women must 'obey' their men at all costs or else the whole fabric of the universe will be torn - God will be upset - and society is doomed to marital anarchy! (There have been more than a few such comments on the newspaper blogs already - see the comments on the Daily Mail article if you don't believe me)
At the end of the day, I am delighted that Kate is going to promise to 'keep' William, and I hope that he is going to promise to 'keep' her. After all, that is a part of marriage which is all too often overlooked as people give up when the going gets tough, or when the temptation comes to trade your old spouse in for a newer model.
I looked for a definition for "He's a keeper" on the internet, just in case some people wouldn't get the play on words.
I could only find one for "She's a keeper!" which went as follows...
"It means that he should keep her, and never lose her. She is a jewel."
I hope you are listening William!