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Ask Dr. Helen: Should Prince William Wear a Wedding Ring?

Shortwave8669 sends a question from his iPhone:

Dear Dr. Helen,

I see in the news that Prince William will not be wearing a wedding ring after marrying Kate Middleton. Is this decision different than a wife that does not take her husband's last name?

I see many are upset at his decision but we no longer notice what I think is a similar female choice. Why? Both decisions seem of equivalent impact.


Dear Shortwave,

Apparently, many people are discussing the issue of Prince William's wedding ring as evidenced by this BBC news show on the topic. In the show, the Brits on the street were asked if he should wear one, and they had a variety of answers:

"Who does he think he is?"

"In modern times, young men don't like to wear a ring."

"We all know he's getting married, so what's the difference?"

On the same show, a news panel with two men and two women weighed in. One woman thought he absolutely should wear a ring, as it is "a symbol of love" and because William is a "self-proclaimed cad." A man on the panel said this was "rubbish, and just about women's lib more than anything else. In modern times, it is a personal choice and if William doesn't want to wear a ring, he shouldn't."

So what is the tradition of men wearing a wedding ring? According to eHow (perhaps not the most credible source, but I thought this post to be sensible), it is this:

Wedding rings for men became more accepted during World War II. Soldiers wore rings to represent commitment to wives at home. Today, some men choose to wear or forgo wedding rings for various professional or cultural reasons. Some men wear wedding rings, like women, to represent the commitment they have made. Other men choose not to wear rings because they avoid jewelry or because cultural or religious traditions discourage rings for men.