Prince Harry Will Break A Major Tradition At The Royal Wedding

When it comes to the royal family, tradition is king. The royals live by a set of etiquette rules that dictate everything from what color nail polish they can wear to how to properly sit in a chair, and usually that commitment to decorum is respected — but every now and then a rebel comes through and breaks the rules. Prince Harry is going to wear his wedding ring after marrying Meghan Markle this May, breaking tradition from his brother and grandfather. Not all the men in his family have sported their gold bands, but Prince Harry has no problem decorating his ring finger.

After Prince William tied the knot with Kate Middleton, Middleton walked back down the aisle wearing her sapphire engagement ring inherited from Princess Diana and Alexander McQueen gown, but Prince William knew his finger would soon be bare. But before conspiracy theories get formed over what that decision could possibly mean, royal etiquette rules state that royal members can choose whether or not they want to wear their rings, and Prince William just doesn’t like to wear jewelry. “It is simply down to personal preference," a royal aide told Time.

“It was something the couple discussed but Prince William isn’t one for jewelry,” the aide continued. “He doesn’t even wear a signet ring — and decided he didn’t want to.” For those not in the know, a signet ring is a ring that bears a family crest or some other symbol that is meaningful to the wearer, and donning one is another royal tradition.

The reason that the aristocratic men could pick and choose to wear one or not has to do with history. In the United Kingdom, men who wore wedding bands weren’t common place until World War II, where soldiers wanted a reminder of their wives as they went off to fight. But many men in the aristocracy decided to side step that new trend, citing the belief that men simply didn’t wear jewelry. To them, men wearing large amounts of jewelry seemed gaudy, so the less bling the better. Which is partly why Prince Philip doesn’t wear a gold band.

It’s an old-school notion, but that’s not to say Prince William is as conservative as his grandfather. While it’s pretty modern for men to wear their wedding rings, Prince William side stepping that and doing what he’s most comfortable with is pretty modern in its own right. As Vogue pointed out, Middleton took out the word ‘obey’ in her wedding vows, and Prince William decided against a gold band on his finger. To each their own.

Prince Harry has had no problem embracing jewelry in the past, which is partly why he now seems to have no issue wearing his future wedding band. For example, in the beginning of their courtship, when rumors were just beginning to percolate that the couple was an item, Prince Harry and Markle were spotted wearing matching blue beaded bracelets that he picked up during a trip to Africa.

Come May 19, prepare to see one of your favorite royals wear a gold ring!

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