Why Kate Middleton Wears a Wedding Ring but Prince William Doesn’t

Should we be worried that their marriage is less than blissful?

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It’s pretty hard to miss the stunning engagement ring Kate Middleton wears (which, interestingly, used to belong to Prince Harry), but she also wears her 18-karat gold wedding band with it. Taking a closer look at her husband’s hands, though, there is never a ring to be found. Is Prince William trying to send a message about his marriage?

Breathe a sigh of relief, because Prince William’s bare hands mean nothing about his commitment to his wife. (Neither does the fact that they don’t hold hands—find out why William and Kate never show PDA.)

Even before the couple tied the knot, palace officials announced William wouldn’t wear a ring after the ceremony. In fact, Kate didn’t even present him with one during the wedding. “It was something the couple discussed but Prince William isn’t one for jewelry—he doesn’t even wear a signet ring—and decided he didn’t want to,” said palace aides before the wedding, according to the Daily Mail. “It really is just down to personal preference.” For more royal wedding trivia, check out the tiny details you missed about Prince William and Kate’s wedding day.


Not that Prince William is the first royal to opt-out of wearing a wedding ring. His grandpa, Prince Philip, doesn’t wear one either, even though he and Queen Elizabeth II have been married for over 70 years. William’s dad, Prince Charles, does wear one, but on his pinky by his family signet ring instead of on his ring finger.

William’s choice not to wear a ring might seem strange by today’s standard, but exchanging rings isn’t the long-standing tradition you probably thought. Women have been wearing wedding rings since ancient Egypt, but it took centuries for men to join in, according to the BBC. It wasn’t until World War II that men fighting overseas started wearing rings because they wanted something to remind them of their wives and families.

Ring or not, the Duke of Cambridge’s relationship status isn’t exactly a secret. An estimated 2 billion people tuned into reports of William and Kate’s wedding, so he’s not hiding anything by not wearing a ring. Don’t miss this one thing you’ll never see Kate Middleton wearing either.

“William and Kate have shown us they are modern royals and are confident in each other’s love for one another,” Diane Clehane, author of Imagining Diana, tells Vogue. “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.” For more examples, don’t miss this other royal rule William and Kate break all the time.

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.