While everyone expects Prince Harry to slip a wedding ring on the finger of his bride-to-be Meghan Markle during their nuptials, the royal is unlikely to wear one.
Royal wedding rings worn by brides are traditionally made from Welsh Gold but very few men in the monarchy have chosen to put on a wedding band.
When the Duke of Cambridge married he followed in the footsteps of his grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh, and uncles the Duke of York and Earl of Wessex, who all chose not to wear the symbol of marriage.
By contrast royal brides have been given wedding rings made from gold nuggets from Clogau St David’s mine at Bontddu in North Wales, and Meghan is expected to follow the tradition.
- Meghan Markle’s estranged brother sends Prince Harry damning letter slamming ‘fake fairytale wedding’
The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding ring – a plain, slim gold band – was made by royal warrant holders Wartski and fashioned from a nugget of Welsh gold given to William by his grandmother the Queen as a gift to mark his 2011 wedding.
The custom of men wearing wedding rings is said to be relatively recent and is believed to have started during the Second World War when servicemen wanted a memento to remind them of their partners back home.
Its popularity increased as the decades passed and as it became more fashionable for men to wear jewellery like neck chains and bracelets.
In contrast to other royal men the Prince of Wales does wear a wedding band – under a signet ring on the little finger of his left hand.
- Sainsbury’s boss says Asda merger is good news for these customers
There may be an element of social class at play for men who decide not to wear a wedding ring as those from the upper classes are said not to like jewellery.
The Queen Mother began the tradition of royal wedding rings being made from Welsh gold after the precious metal was used to make her wedding band when she married in 1923.
One nugget of gold was used to make the Queen Mother’s wedding ring, the Queen’s in 1947, Princess Margaret’s in 1960, the Princess Royal’s in 1973 and that of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1981.
The gold came from the Clogau St David’s mine at Bontddu in North Wales. There is now only a minute sliver – one gram (0.035oz) – of the original nugget left.
But in November 1981, the British Royal Legion presented the Queen with a 36-gram (1.3oz) piece of 21-carat Welsh gold for future royal wedding rings.
The Duchess of Cornwall’s wedding ring was also crafted from Welsh gold from the Clogau St David’s mine and the river Mawddach in the King’s Forest.
It was handmade in court style by Wartski and the precious metal was supplied by Cambrian Goldfields Limited.