Jewellery

The real reason King Charles always wears a ring on his pinky

King Charles III is always seen wearing a signet ring on his smallest finger, engraved with the official crest of the Prince of Wales. We explain why and what this signature gold band represents

16 September 2022

By Joshua Hendren

King Charles III’s gold signet ring has rarely moved from his left pinky finger since the mid-1970s. Dating back 175 years, the ring was last worn by Charles’ uncle, Prince Edward, the Duke of Windsor, who was the Prince of Wales before he ascended the throne. 

Charles signet ring
King Charles III wears his signature pinky ring during his coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey (Photo by Victoria Jones/Getty Images)
Charles signet ring
King Charles III’s signet ring seen on his little finger of his left hand during a visit Denbies Wine Estate on May 26, 2011 in Dorking, England (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)

Otherwise known as a gentleman’s ring, the history of the signet ring is thought to stretch back to the days of the Old Testament. Traditionally worn on the smallest finger (the pinky) the style is often adorned with a coat of arms, family crest or a monogram to symbolise heritage, or social status.

As for His Majesty’s signet, the large gold band is engraved with the official crest of the Prince of Wales – a title that belonged to him for more than 64 years. 

Charles signet ring
King Charles III, then-Prince Charles, and Lady Diana Spencer pose for photographers outside Buckingham Palace February 24th after the official announcement of their engagement in 1981 (Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images)

The King has been photographed wearing the ring since the mid-70s. He even wore the ring at his wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles back in 2005.

Charles signet ring
King Charles III during a visit to Staffordshire (Photo by Pool/Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)

Through history, the signet ring has traditionally been worn by men, but in recent decades, women are just as likely to adopt the style. Princess Diana sported her own version back in 1988. While Catherine, Princess of Wales’ family have all been spotted wearing their coat of arms on their pinkies.

Like this? Take a look back at British royal engagement rings through history, from Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana to Katherine, Princess of Wales

Something About Rocks Summer 2024