It's impossible to miss Kate Middleton’s 12-carat-sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring, or her 18-karat Welsh gold wedding band. But have you noticed that her husband Prince William’s ring finger is bare? That’s because of an old British, royal tradition that dictates men shouldn't wear jewelry. Prince Philip who has been married to Queen Elizabeth II for over 50 years has never worn a ring, but interestingly enough Prince Charles wore a ring for his wedding to both Princess Diana and Camilla Parker Bowles. Prince William announced before the wedding that it was his “personal preference” not to do so, The Telegraph is reporting.
An authority on etiquette, David Miller, director of Debretts, tells The Telegraph, “Wearing a wedding ring used to be uncommon for men but now it is quite accepted practice. That said, it really is a matter of personal choice and members of the Royal Family often chose to wear it with a signet ring on the little finger of their left hand.” Furthermore, according to Peter York, coauthor of The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook, “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.”
Which, when you think about it, this is kind-of what makes the Prince William and Middleton so cool. They live on their own terms. As Diane Clehane, author of Imagining Diana, tells Vogue, “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.”