Prince Charles has been wearing this one piece of jewellery for nearly fifty years – find out why

The piece of jewellery has a very special meaning

Fiona Ward

Prince Charles, like many male members of the royal family, chooses not to wear much jewellery as a rule. But dedicated royal-watchers may have noticed that there's one accessory that he rarely goes without: his gold signet ring, which he wears on his left pinky finger for the majority of his public events. In fact, the Prince of Wales has been sporting his trusty signet since the 70s, at least – it can also clearly be seen in he and Princess Diana's official engagement photographs from 1981.

Photo: © Getty Images

Prince Charles pictured at a polo match in 1975

But what's the meaning behind Charles' treasured piece of jewellery? Signet rings have previously been known as a 'gentleman's ring' – though many women are known to wear them – and were originally a way of symbolising a personal signature, family heritage or social status. Charles' ring bears the official symbol of the Prince of Wales, and is apparently more than 175 years old. 

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Actually, the future king makes the piece all the more special by wearing his gold wedding band stacked underneath it – instead of on the usual ring finger. He did this with his marital band from Princess Diana right up until 2005, removing it after he announced his engagement to the Duchess of Cornwall. He now wears his wedding band from Camilla proudly in the very same place.

Photo: © Getty Images

Charles was pictured wearing the ring during his recent royal visit to Cornwall

The late Princess Diana was also a fan of a signet ring, and often wore hers on her pinky, too – and while Camilla has also been seen wearing a ring on her fifth finger, it's not thought to be a signet. Actually, the Middleton family was granted a coat of arms just before the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge married – and both Pippa and James Middleton have been spotted wearing their signet rings since then.

Photo: © Getty Images

Princess Diana also wore a signet ring

The look has actually come full circle, from traditional to trendy, since the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Cara Delevingne have also appeared in high-fashion campaigns wearing signet rings. Fancy your own? We like British jewellers Dinny Hall's modern versions in sterling silver, which you can have engraved with your chosen initial in a suitably swirly font. Love.

READ MORE: All the stunning times the royals have borrowed the Queen’s jewellery - video

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