We know all about Meghan Markle’s unique engagement ring. The three-stone diamond beauty, designed by Prince Harry and created by Cleave and Company, combines jewels from the late Princess Diana’s collection and from Botswana, where Harry and Meghan took a romantic trip earlier this year.
But little is known about Prince Harry’s wedding ring, or lack thereof. The fact that his older brother Prince William opted out of one — and that in British royal tradition, many men don’t wear them — raises questions.
Will, Time reported back in 2011, just doesn’t seem to like jewellery. “It is simply down to personal preference,” said a palace aide. “It was something the couple discussed, but Prince William isn’t one for jewellery. He doesn’t even wear a signet ring — and decided he didn’t want to.” A signet ring is a pinky ring often worn by British nobility.
William and Harry’s father, Charles the Prince of Wales, wore the wedding ring from his marriage to Princess Diana on his pinky finger, right next to his signet ring for years, although he took it off in 2005 before his wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles. But the Queen’s husband — 96-year-old Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh — doesn’t wear one, perhaps sticking with the British upper-class tradition.
“The feeling is there is nothing to suggest that Prince Harry will wear a ring,” celebrity wedding planner David Tutera told Refinery29. “It is the tradition and culture of royal family that the men do not wear rings.”
Sara Fried, owner of Fête Nashville, a luxury wedding-planning company, provided a historical perspective: “The tradition of men wearing a wedding ring began during World War II, when men wanted a visual reminder of their wives at home. Although it is royal tradition that Prince Harry will not wear a wedding ring, we are confident he won’t need any reminders of his beautiful new bride!”
William Hanson, a leading UK etiquette coach and expert, told Harper’s Bazaar the tradition has a class aspect. “Not wearing a wedding band is one of those quirky British silent class indicators, like the colour of your shoes on a Thursday, or the way you fold your top pocket handkerchief.”
Like with many other elements of the 2018 royal wedding — we’re looking at you, banana cake — the issue of the wedding ring is one where longtime tradition and modern tastes come into conflict. So, will Prince Harry forgo the ring as a nod to his royal roots? Or will he wear it to align with more mainstream tastes? Or will he, perhaps, follow in his brother’s footsteps and ditch the jewellery because it’s not his thing?
He is known as someone who marches to the beat of their own drum. Either way, we’re looking forward to seeing how this new royal couple reinterprets old-timey traditions.