Image Source: SCP
After much speculation on the royal wedding rings, May 19th’s historic wedding between Prince Harry of Wales and Miss Meghan Markle finally put the question of ‘would he or wouldn’t he’ to rest. Unlike many of his upper-crust contemporaries, Harry opted to follow modern custom and wear a wedding band.
It’s not so unusual for the masses, but interestingly, men in higher echelons of society are less inclined to wear jewelry of any kind. And this was just one of the ways Harry & Meghan made their wedding uniquely their own.
Old Meets New
Those who roused themselves early (or just stayed up) to watch the splendid event were treated to a wonderful melding of the past and future that so often occurs when English pomp meets American modernism.
After a beautiful service from the Dean of Windsor, a reading from the Song of Solomon by Lady Jane Fellowes, and a stirring address from the Most Reverend Michael Curry, the couple recited their vows (which notably omitted the promise to obey) with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
And like the decidedly modern tone of their wedding, Harry and Meghan chose to exchange rings made from unique metals – platinum for him, and yellow gold for her. A nod to each of their individual styles, this was a fresh departure from the traditional practice of matching wedding bands.
On Meghan’s ring finger, Harry placed a slim, plain band made from the brick of Welsh gold which has adorned the fingers of generations of Mountbattens and Windsors. Trust the American to bring a contemporary edge to the occasion with that platinum wedding band for the prince.
This lovely fusion of old and new was a small but meaningful way to celebrate the happy occasion while launching a new era for the British royal family.
British Royals And Their Wedding Bands
When Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011, palace officials announced that he wouldn’t be wearing a wedding ring at all. His father and uncles do, but they do so in a very understated way – on the pinky, tucked under a signet ring.
The palace issued a statement that wearing a wedding ring is a “personal preference” and that William simply “isn’t one for jewelry.” Rather understandable, since William doesn’t even wear that signet ring that is so common amongst his aristocratic contemporaries.
Interestingly, being part of the upper-class social strata in the UK seems to dictate that “the less stuff you wear the better,” according to Peter York, coauthor of The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook. In fact, Debrett’s (the authority on all things related to the peerage) declared as lately as 1996, “It is customary for the bride alone to sport a wedding ring, and although some brides have adopted the Continental habit of presenting the groom with his own band during vows, this remains not quite comme il faut.”
But Harry, ever the rebel, has decided to wear a wedding band – and on his ring finger no less.
While the men of the monarchy are not expected to wear wedding rings, it seems the women are. In fact, all the married women of the British royal family do wear them. And most of them wear simple, plain bands made from rare Welsh gold, a tradition started by the Queen Mother and carried on by Queen Elizabeth who was gifted a brick of the stuff by Clogau on her 60th birthday.
Here’s a breakdown of British royals and their wedding rings.
|Queen Mother||Yes||Welsh gold, worn on ring finger, from brick gifted from Clogau mine|
|Queen Elizabeth II||Yes||Welsh gold, worn on ring finger|
|Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh (Queen’s husband)||No|
|Prince Charles (1st son of QE2)||Yes||Welsh gold, worn on pinky finger|
|Diana, Princess of Wales (Ex-wife of Prince Charles)||Yes||Welsh gold, worn on ring finger, from QE2’s brick|
|Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (2nd wife of Prince Charles)||Yes||Welsh gold, worn on ring finger|
|Prince William (1st Son of Charles & Diana)||No|
|Kate, Duchess of Cambridge (William’s wife)||Yes||Welsh gold, worn on ring finger, from QE2’s brick|
|Prince Harry (2nd son of Charles & Diana)||Yes||Welsh gold, worn on ring finger, from QE2’s brick|
|Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (Wife of Harry)||Yes||Welsh gold, worn on ring finger, from QE2’s brick|
|Princess Margaret (queen’s sister)||Yes||Welsh gold, worn on ring finger|
|Princess Anne (queen’s daughter)||Yes||Welsh gold, worn on ring finger|
|Prince Edward (3rd son of QE2)||Yes||Welsh gold worn on pinky finger|
|Prince Andrew, Duke of York (2nd son of QE2)||Yes||When married to Fergie – yes, pinky finger|
|Sarah, Duchess of York (ex-wife of Prince Andrew)||Yes||Welsh gold, worn on ring finger, from QE2’s brick|
|Prince Michael of Kent (The Queen’s First Cousin)||Yes||Ring finger|
|Peter Phillips (Princess Margaret’s son)||Yes||Ring finger|
|Lord Frederick Windsor (Prince Michael’s son)||Yes||Ring finger|
|Zara Tindall (Princess Anne’s daughter)||Yes||Ring finger|
Prince Harry’s decision to wear a wedding band on his ring finger is just a small demonstration of his modern and unconventional way of thinking. He’s also one of the few male royals that has been seen wearing other types of jewelry. Even as the couple drove away from the Chapel to their reception, Harry was seen wearing a gold bangle bracelet on his right wrist.
And that’s not the only time the prince has been seeing wearing jewelry.
Image source: US Navy
Actually, Harry is probably the most bedecked male royal in the United Kingdom, often sporting rustic, beaded, and leather bracelets. Watches and even necklaces have also graced his royal person over the years.
We must say, we love that Harry isn’t afraid of a little man bling. In fact, Ritani has a full line of men’s jewelry perfect for the prince in your life.
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