On Saturday, May 19th, the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex said their I do’s at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. But when exchanging rings, there was a deeper meaning for Prince Harry to put on that platinum band.
While Queen Elizabeth and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, wear wedding rings, their husbands do not.
In 2011 the palace said the choice to wear a wedding ring is a “personal preference.”
“It is code, like so many of these things . . . there is a group of upper-class people who think the less of that stuff you wear the better, less bling,” Peter York, co-author of The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook, told The Telegraph. A 1996 version of Debrett’s New Guide to Etiquette and Modern Manners, the definitive English upper crust etiquette book, stated, “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 the vows, this remains not quite comme il faut.”
But what does it mean that Prince Harry has chosen to ditch the trend that his brother, father, and grandfather follow?
“I think it shows, as if proof were needed, that Harry is the least conventional member of the Royal Family,” Penny Junor, author of The Duchess, tells Vogue. “Harry’s chosen to do what most married men do today. I like it.”
According to a 2018 Vogue report, Prince Harry and Meghan are certainly doing things their way—which is, often, a modern approach. Harry eschewing the “stiff upper lip” mentality by opening up about his struggles with mental health, or Meghan Markle speaking out in support of the #MeToo movement.
For Harry, it seems a wedding ring goes beyond a piece of jewelry or to confirm a commitment. The wedding ring is another way of showing that Harry and Meghan won’t necessarily abide by the royal rulebook of generations past.