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100 years ago: Silliness at a wedding

18 January 2012

January 19, 1912.

ONE of the by-products of the Suffrage Movement made itself evident on Saturday at the Savoy Chapel, on the occasion of the marriage of a suffragette. For the purpose of advertisement, it was announced beforehand that what some papers called “the revised service” was to be used — a service, by the way, of whch nothing has yet been heard — and considerable interest in the proceedings was aroused. The bride, it appears, objected to the ceremony of being given away, and declared her intention of omitting the vow to obey her intended husband. The Chaplain, whose sympathies went with the bride, would have liked to comply with her wishes, but was advised that he might invalidate the marriage. Accordingly, he prefaced the service with some unauthorized and, as we think, exceedingly fool­ish remarks, in the course of which he pointed to the dangerous legal consequence of intentionally altering the formula, and urged as a special objection to doing so the fact that the Chapel was a Royal peculiar. He therefore recited the formula in full, but the conflicting evidence left it uncertain whether the bride repeated or omitted the vow of obedience until she herself laid the doubt to rest by denying that she repeated the formula. But presumably she had already said “I will” to the question, “Wilt thou obey him and serve him?” If she omitted the words, and the Chap­lain solemnized the marriage knowing that she did so, he was guilty of that very disrespect to­wards the King against which he cautioned the lady; but nobody seems to know exactly what happened, so we must give the Chaplain the benefit of the doubt. But, from start to finish, the whole business was monstrously silly.

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