Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Windsor Wedding Rings: a band of Welsh gold


It's been a Windsor tradition from almost the moment that the ruling house came into existence but will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle follow it? For almost 100 years, every senior royal bride of the House of Windsor has worn a wedding ring made from Welsh gold. As speculation over every part of the Royal Wedding continues, here's a look at how Welsh gold came to be such a major part of Windsor marriages.


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 It all starts with the Queen Mother. Back in 1923, the then Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon asked for her wedding ring to be made from Welsh gold which had come from the Clogau mine in north Wales. The mine had closed down in 1911 but the nugget which had found its way into royal hands was big enough to make not just her ring but the bands worn by her daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, her granddaughter, Princess Anne, and her granddaughter-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales.



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All those rings left just a tiny sliver of gold in the reserves so in November 1981, the British Legion presented the Queen with a new piece of Welsh gold for future royal wedding rings. In the years that followed, Sarah, Duchess of York, the Countess of Wessex and the Duchess of Cornwall were all presented with wedding rings made of Welsh gold.



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In 2011, there was a lot of speculation as to whether Kate Middleton would wear a Welsh gold wedding ring. Buckingham Palace confirmed that, after Prince William and his bride announced their engagement, the Queen had given her grandson a nugget of Welsh gold from which Kate's wedding ring would be made. Its exact origins were never revealed but the link to the tradition started by the Queen Mother in 1923 remained.





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So it would be a big surprise if Harry and Meghan didn't follow suit on May 19th. We don't yet know whether the groom at this royal wedding will receive a ring (William famously chose not to ) but we already know that his bride loves yellow gold and her engagement ring is set on a band of that metal. It follows that her wedding ring will be made of yellow gold, too, meaning this tradition looks almost certain to continue.

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