It’s unfair for just one ring to get all the attention in a wedding, don’t you think?
By now, we’ve all had a look at the ring Prince Harry gave to Meghan Markle when he asked her to marry him—and heard the sweet story behind the stones—but as we celebrate Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s nuptials, many people are wondering whether the groom will wear a ring of his own.
It was announced yesterday that Prince Harry will indeed wear a platinum band, breaking from recent tradition.
During the ceremony he and Meghan said the following while placing a ring on each other’s ring finger: “I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage. With my body I honor you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you, within the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
While Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is rarely seen without her iconic sapphire and diamond engagement ring (which once belonged to Princess Diana) and her gold wedding band, astute anglophiles have taken notice that her husband, Harry’s brother William, chooses not to wear anything.
According to British and European royalty expert Marlene Koenig, “there is no royal tradition for men wearing or not wearing a wedding ring.” Rather, it’s a personal preference. Prince William has chosen not to wear his, although his father, Prince Charles, did during his marriage to Lady Diana Spencer—and continued to wear it on his signet finger, after her death.
William’s reasons for not wearing a ring are a matter of personal choice. “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 last October.
In that respect, William is making a rather old fashioned choice. According to a Telegraph article, an estimated 90 percent of English men tying the knot are expected to wear wedding rings. But, this is a relatively new phenomenon, according to Koenig.
“In the UK, it is a modern tradition that men have adopted wearing a wedding ring,” she explains. “But it’s not all that common among the aristocracy. Former prime minister David Cameron does not wear a wedding ring.”
Koenig points out that while there is no protocol around wearing a wedding ring, there is tradition in what royal wedding rings ares made from: Welsh gold.
“In 1923, the Duke of York, the future King George VI, received a nugget of gold from the Clogau mine,” she says. Clogau is a gold mine near Bontddu in North Wales. “There was enough in this nugget to make rings for Princess Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, and the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.”
Adds Koenig, “That nugget is largely exhausted, but the Queen has received gifts of other nuggets of Welsh gold during her reign. She gave gold to William for Catherine’s ring. One assumes she will do the same for Harry.”