Kate Middleton Doesn't Always Wear Her Sapphire and Diamond Engagement Ring—Here's Why

According to engagement ring experts, the Princess of Wales removes her ring for "health and safety reasons."

Kate Middleton wearing her engagement ring
Max Mumby/Indigo / Getty Images.

If there's one engagement ring that just about everyone seems to know, it's Kate Middleton’s 12-carat sapphire and diamond bauble from Prince William. Not only is the sparkler continuously praised for its statement-making appearance, but it’s also one with a meaningful history: William proposed to Kate in 2010 with the same engagement ring that his mother, Princess Diana, received from King Charles III. Even though the rock is usually a staple accessory worn by Kate, the Princess of Wales will sometimes remove her precious gemstone during royal outings—and it's a practical habit that you might want to copy.

Kate Middleton's sapphire and diamond engagement ring

Max Mumby/Indigo / Getty Images

In January of 2023, Kate visited the Royal Liverpool University Hospital to talk about mental health resources the the facility offers, but the public quickly noticed that her engagement ring was missing from her outfit. Kate also set aside the heirloom jewel during a trip to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital in 2020 and again when visiting the Great Ormond Street Hospital in 2018, PureWow reports. So, why does she ditch her ring during these outings? According to engagement ring specialists at Steven Stone, Kate takes off her sparkler due to "health and safety reasons," Express reports. Kensington Palace has previous clarified that Kate removes her accessories during these types of visits to protect others; in the latter instance, she was visiting the children’s ward and wanted to remove potential hygiene hazards. 

Another time that the Princess of Wales is rarely seen wearing her engagement ring is when she partakes in sporting events. When Kate attended the Commonwealth Games swimming trials in August of 2022, fans were quick to comment on the missing ring. She also took off her ring the day before when she took part in a Team Great Britain race against New Zealand, Express reports. “Kate typically removes her engagement ring whenever she is taking part in physical activities and sports or when there is a greater risk that the ring could become damaged or lost,” the Steven Stone experts note. With such a valuable piece that cost about $500,000, it’s no wonder that Kate wants to play it safe. 

Many other royals also participate in putting their engagement ring some place safe during risky situations. When Meghan Markle attended the Commonwealth Day service in Westminster Abbey in 2019, she was spotted without her three-stone diamond accessory. Queen Letizia of Spain is rarely seen with her engagement ring in public, so she opts for a gold-plated ring instead. Duchess Sophie of Edinburgh is another royal who makes it a habit of removing her ring when there’s a health or safety risk.

This practice of removing your engagement ring in certain situations isn’t just reserved for the royals, however. Not only is your sparkler an expensive piece of jewelry, but it also symbolizes your union, so if you're doing something that could potentially cause you to lose or damage it, you should also remove yours, too. To play it safe, remember to take off your ring before breaking a sweat because putting pressure on the sparkler can potentially change its shape over time. Diamond experts also reveal that using lotion and other cosmetics can diminish your ring’s shine, so put your ring aside whenever you’re primping. Likewise, any time you swim, cook, clean, or shower, your rock can easily slip off. Plus, participating in these activities can easily bang up your band.   

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