Why Prince William Doesn’t Wear a Wedding Ring, But Kate Middleton Does

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Why Prince William Doesn’t Wear a Wedding Ring, But Kate Middleton Does

Kate Middleton, like most married women, wears a wedding ring. Granted, it’s not as noticeable as her 12-carat sapphire-and-diamond piece, but it’s there, nonetheless: an 18-karat band made of Welsh gold.

Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton have reportedly caused tension in the Palace after Prince William Photo (C) GETTY
Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton have reportedly caused tension in the Palace after Prince William Photo (C) GETTY

The left ring finger of her husband, Prince William, however, is bare.

Back in 2011, St. James’s Palace addressed the choice to The Daily Mail. Kate Middleton would be wearing a ring after their wedding, but Prince William would not because of “personal preference.”

Prince William always puts his family first. Photo (C) Andrew Matthews – WPA Pool, Getty Images
Prince William always puts his family first. Photo (C) Andrew Matthews – WPA Pool, Getty Images

“He doesn’t like jewelry, and the Palace issued a statement before their wedding saying so,” Penny Junor, author of The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair that Rocked the Crown, told Vogue. And, considering an estimated two billion people watched Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, it’s not like anyone is unaware of his marital status. As Robert Jobson, royal editor of London’s Evening Standard, put it, it’s “his prerogative.”
But the fact that Prince William even had a yes-or-no option leads to a fascinating look at British upper class, royal tradition, and history.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30: (L-R) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge are seen during a visit to The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace on August 30, 2017 in London, England. The garden has been transformed into a White Garden dedicated in the memory of Princess Diana, mother of The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth- WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 30: (L-R) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge are seen during a visit to The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace on August 30, 2017 in London, England. The garden has been transformed into a White Garden dedicated in the memory of Princess Diana, mother of The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth- WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Today, 90 percent of English men getting married are estimated to have wedding rings, but it’s a relatively recent phenomenon. Rings for men didn’t become commonplace in the U.K. until the World War II–era, when soldiers wanted reminders of their wives back home. (Women, however, have been wearing bands since ancient Egypt.) Even so, many British blue bloods eschewed the trend, citing a cemented belief that men don’t wear jewelry (the exception to this is a signet ring—but more on that later). One of those men is Prince Philip, who, despite being married to wedding ring–wearing Queen Elizabeth II for nearly 70 years, never wears one.

Prince William, however, chooses not to wear a wedding ring. Before your mind starts wandering to trouble in paradise Photo (C) INSTAGRAM, KENSINGTON PALACE
Prince William, however, chooses not to wear a wedding ring. Before your mind starts wandering to trouble in paradise Photo (C) INSTAGRAM, KENSINGTON PALACE

Even today, men of a certain echelon often ditch the ring, for example, former prime minister David Cameron, an “old Etonian.”

Prince William and Catherine Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are one of the most famous married couples in the world Photo (C) TWITTER, KENSINGTON PALACE
Prince William and Catherine Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are one of the most famous married couples in the world Photo (C) TWITTER, KENSINGTON PALACE

“There are some things that people like David Cameron will never do, and I think that is probably one of them,” Peter York, coauthor of The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook, told The Telegraph. “It is code, like so many of these things . . . there is a group of upper-class people who think the less of that stuff you wear the better, less bling.” In a Daily Mail report, an anonymous source (so, take it with a grain of salt) lumped Prince William in with this groupthink: “It is quite common for men in that strata of society not to wear a traditional wedding band.”

However, Prince Charles ignored his father’s precedent and wore a wedding ring for both his marriages, to Princess Diana and Camilla Parker Bowles. But, unlike a “normal” man, he wears his discreetly on his pinky finger, next to his signet ring. (Sometimes called a “gentleman’s ring,” it often features a family crest or symbol—his has the official signet of the Prince of Wales.)

Kate was joined by Prince William and Prince Harry at the palace reception on Tuesday evening Photo (C) GETTY
Kate was joined by Prince William and Prince Harry at the palace reception on Tuesday evening Photo (C) GETTY

So, to some, it was a bit a surprise that Prince William, a contemporary royal in his own right, reverted back to this old-guard tradition. But, as Diane Clehane, author of Imagining Diana, suggested, William bucking a modern norm for a traditional one may be the most modern thing of all. “William and Kate have shown us they are modern royals and are confident in each other’s love for one another. Kate omitted the word ‘obey’ in her wedding vows, and William has opted not to wear a ring, which makes them like many millennial couples—intent on doing things their way.”
As the saying goes—so old, it’s new again.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge shares a joke with patient Theresa Jones in the Frailty unit during a visit to Aintree University Hospital on September 14, 2017 in Liverpool, England. The Duke visited Aintree University Hospital to formally open the new Urgent Care and Trauma Centre (UCAT). This new unit, serving a catchment area of 2.3m residents in the North West, opened in January 2017 following a £35m redevelopment. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 14: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge shares a joke with patient Theresa Jones in the Frailty unit during a visit to Aintree University Hospital on September 14, 2017 in Liverpool, England. The Duke visited Aintree University Hospital to formally open the new Urgent Care and Trauma Centre (UCAT). This new unit, serving a catchment area of 2.3m residents in the North West, opened in January 2017 following a £35m redevelopment. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Source: vogue com

Tags: Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince William, Prince Charles, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Diane Clehane, Imagining, Millennial, David Cameron, Kate Middleton, Kate, Kate Duchess, Engagement Ring, Royal Rings, British Royals

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