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The real reason Kate Middleton didn't wear her engagement or eternity rings on latest visit

The Duchess spent time at the Evelina children's hospital on Tuesday

Gemma Strong

The Duchess of Cambridge looked typically elegant on her official visit to the Evelina children's hospital. But eagle-eyed watchers noticed the royal was not wearing two of her most precious accessories; her engagement ring and her eternity ring. While Kate's Welsh gold wedding band was clearly visible on her fourth finger, her 12-carat sapphire engagement ring and her Eclipse diamond eternity ring, made from 18 carat white gold, by Annoushka, were absent. It's thought the latter was a gift from her husband, marking the birth of their first child, Prince George.

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Duchess Kate removed her engagement and eternity rings for the hospital visit

HELLO! has now confirmed that Kate's reason for removing the bands was down to health and safety. Kensington Palace told HELLO! Online that the Duchess took off her accessories because she was visiting the children's wards, and, as such, it was important for the royal to remove any potential hygiene hazards. It's not the first time Kate has removed her precious jewels for a hospital visit. In January 2018, when she spent time with the children at Great Ormond Street, she appeared without both bands, choosing instead to solely wear her wedding ring.

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Coincidentally, Kate's engagement came under the spotlight during her visit to Evelina, when she was asked about Prince William's proposal by one of the mothers at the hospital. William famously asked Kate to be his wife after eight years of dating – and fellow mum Sarah Ibendahl told the Duchess she sympathised with her because it had taken her husband the same length of time to pop the question.

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Kate met Sarah as she learnt about the creative workshops run by the National Portrait Gallery for young patients and their siblings. Sarah, from Blackheath, south-east London - whose three-year-old son Benjamin is being treated for an auto-immune condition - said after meeting the Duchess on a ward: "We also bonded over the fact it took our husbands like nine years before they asked us to marry them. When I mentioned it she laughed politely and gave a knowing smile."

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