Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been making their own rules when it comes to their wedding. For the loved-up royal couple, gone are days of strict adherence to tradition. They are marching to the beat of their own drum from reportedly choosing Meghan’s mother to walk her down the aisle instead of her father to having a banana-flavored wedding cake instead of the usual multi-tiered fruit cake. The question now points to an important aspect of marriage: Will Prince Harry wear his wedding ring?
As far as British royalty goes, there are no hard and fast rules as to whether they should wear wedding rings or not. However, many men in the family, by tradition and some by preference, do not wear one. Perhaps this is due in part to the fact that wedding rings became a trend for men only during World War II, when they opted to wear wedding bands to remind them of their wives back home. The British royal family never fully adopted this development.
For Harry’s brother, Prince William, not wearing a wedding ring is simply a matter of personal preference. Speaking to Time back in 2011, a royal aide shared that the Duke of Cambridge isn’t fond of jewelry. He doesn’t even wear a signet ring on his pinky finger, which is often worn by British nobility. Prince William and Kate Middleton were wed using Welsh gold wedding bands made by Wartski of Llandudno, but the Duke of Cambridge ultimately deciding against wearing it daily.
Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, also chose not to wear a wedding ring. William and Harry’s father, Prince Charles, is the only male royal known for wearing a wedding ring. Even after his marriage to Diana ended and her untimely death, Charles continued to wear his wedding ring in his pinky finger next to his signet ring. He took it off in 2005 shortly before marrying Camilla Parker Bowles.
Another reason behind the no-ring culture among royals is that it identifies with British aristocratic tradition. According to U.K. etiquette coach William Hanson, not wearing a wedding ring is a British upper class indicator. He told Harper’s Bazaar it is not unusual for British men of nobility to forgo wearing a wedding ring.
“This is not because of any intentions that they may wish to play away from home once married, but because it was traditionally not the done thing for a gentleman to wear jewelry.”
Prince Harry may choose to follow his brother’s and grandfather’s footsteps and decide against sporting a wedding ring. He may also choose to wear one the moment he says “I do” to Meghan. If ever Prince Harry does chose to wear a physical symbol for his marriage, his and Meghan’s rings are expected to be made in pure Welsh gold.
According to Clarence House, in the past 94 years the royal family has used pure Welsh gold to craft their wedding rings and other significant pieces of jewelry. The tradition first began when the Queen Mother married the Duke of York on April 26, 1923. Welsh gold is particularly rare and mined from the Clogau St. David Gold Mine in Wales.
Welsh gold was made to create Princess Margaret’s wedding ring, as well as Prince Charles’ and Diana’s. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also have wedding bands made of Welsh gold.