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Sarah Says Wedding Vow To Obey Doesn’t Mean She’ll Be Meek

July 22, 1986 GMT

LONDON (AP) _ Sporting Union Jacks and carrying sleeping bags, the first determined royal fans camped outside Westminster Abbey today, more than 24 hours before Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson are to be married.

″It’s the chance of a lifetime,″ said 12-year-old American Jamie Pullman, from Atlanta, Ga., who was camped out with his older sister.

The couple spent the morning opening a flood of last-minute presents at Buckingham Palace, aides said, after attending a lavish pre-wedding party Monday night given by Miss Ferguson’s father, Maj. Ronald Ferguson.

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Ferguson is polo manager to Prince Charles, Andrew’s elder brother and heir to the throne, and the party was held at the exclusive club in the Windsor Great Park polo grounds 21 miles west of London.

Among today’s presents was a dinner service for 12 given by British ceramic manufacturers, each item decorated with couple’s initials intertwined in gold topped by a coronet.

Police sealed sewer inlets and mail boxes and sewers in central London as part of a huge security operation for the wedding.

On Wednesday, Andrew’s mother, Queen Elizabeth II, will head a procession of open carriages from Buckingham Palace to the abbey. A security policeman disguised in the scarlet and gold tunic of royal footman will ride behind, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Aides stressed the monarch insisted on the open carriages. However, weather forecasts predicted scattered showers - meaning the queen and the wedding couple might have to change to covered carriages at the last moment.

In an interview made public today, Miss Ferguson was quoted as saying that although she will promise to obey Prince Andrew in her wedding vows, she will not be a meek wife.

The interview by Miss Ferguson and Prince Andrew with Press Association’s court correspondent Tom Corby was conducted at Buckingham Palace last week.

″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 her husband,″ the 26-year-old redhead was quoted as saying.

″When I want to, I will stress a point. When we have a dilemma to resolve or we find ourselves in a situation which 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 was quoted as saying.

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Miss Ferguson’s decision to promise to obey Prince Andrew when they marry at Westminster Abbey made headlines earlier this month. Princess Diana omitted the traditional Church of England wedding vow to obey her husband when she married Prince Charles in 1981.

Corby quoted Miss Ferguson as saying she will shut out the world when she arrives at the abbey Wednesday.

″I will be completely and utterly overexcited at the prospect of marrying the man waiting at the top of the aisle,″ she was quoted as saying.

Corby said 26-year-old Prince Andrew, asked how he expected to feel, replied with a grin, ″I have no idea but I will shout the answer to you across the abbey if you want.″

Press Association said the interview took place in Andrew’s private sitting room. Color photographs of Miss Ferguson taken by the prince, an amateur photographer, were displayed prominently, while models of aircraft filled a cabinet lining one wall. The prince is a Royal Navy helicopter pilot.

Corby said the couple wasn’t bothered by fashion writers who have criticized Miss Ferguson’ figure and her taste in clothes.

″It used to bother me. But now I do not read the criticisms,″ Miss Ferguson was quoted as saying. She said she did not diet and that as far as she was concerned, she did not have a weight problem, Corby said.

Miss Ferguson was quoted as telling Corby she saw no reason to stop working after marriage. She has continued her job as executive editor of a graphic arts company in London’s swank Mayfair district since she went to live at Buckingham Palace after her engagement in March.

″My job enables me to work from home and I will be able to amalgamate my work with Andrew’s career ... and be a good wife to Andrew. You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it,″ she was quoted as saying.

Corby said Miss Ferguson also announced plans to start lessons later this year to learn to fly airplanes and helicopters.

He quoted her as saying that flying was Prince Andrew’s life, ″and I want to be part of his life.″