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