Why Prince William Never Wears a Wedding Ring

Surprise, surprise, it stems from an odd aristocratic tradition

Updated 01/30/17

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One of the only surefire ways you can tell a man is married is by what he's donning on his left ring finger. For single ladies, the flash of a gold band is enough to send them running. But what happens when a married man simply decides he doesn't want to wear a wedding ring? This may be the case for Prince William, but the reason behind it is anything but simple. We know, we know, you'd think that the man who gets to marry Kate Middleton would want to flaunt the fact that he's spending forever with her, but there's actually an aristocratic tradition stemming to his lack of wearing a wedding band.

While women have been wearing wedding rings since the Egyptian times, it may shock you to know that men only really starting wearing wedding bands during World War II to serve as a reminder of their family back at home while they were fighting overseas. But for the royal family, the tradition has never been fully, if at all, adopted. One of the only royals today who wears his wedding band is Prince Charles, and he happens to wear it next to his signet ring. For the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke of Cambridge though, they're sticking with the British upper class tradition of forgoing the ring altogether.

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"It is not unusual at all for men from the upper sets in Britain to shun wearing a wedding band," William Hanson, an etiquette expert, said. "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 gentleman to wear jewelry. Years ago, this even included watches, but even hardened snobs have relaxed on that front. Not wearing a wedding band is one of those quirky British silent class indicators, like the color of your shoes on a Thursday, or the way you fold your top pocket handkerchief."

But one jewelry item that is accepted amongst the British elite? The signet ring.

"The signet ring shows lineage, which is obviously more important than any comparatively trivial romance," Hanson added in a Harper's Bazaar UK article. "Signet rings should only have a family crest on — Ones with your initials are treated as a bit suspect."

The more you know, we guess?

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