Why Kate Middleton Isn't Wearing Her Wedding and Engagement Rings in New Photo

In honor of Mother's Day in the UK, Kensington Palace shared a new photo of Kate Middleton, the first official image of the Princess of Wales released since her abdominal surgery in January.

The picture, which was taken by Prince William earlier this month, shows Kate surrounded by her three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. It was accompanied by a brief note thanking the public for their support as she recovers.

"Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months. Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day," wrote the Princess. She signed the note with her initial, "C".

kate middleton and her children
Courtesy of Kensington Palace

In keeping with Kensington Palace's original stance that they will not be providing health updates unless something significant changes, the message did not offer any additional details on Kate's recovery, or when she may next appear publicly. Previously the Palace said, "Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter."

Kate appears relaxed in the photo, wearing skinny jeans, chunky lace-up boots, and a waxed jacket over a turtleneck sweater. Notably, she is not wearing any jewelry; the Princess opted to go without her wedding and engagement rings for the picture.

When asked about why she isn't wearing her rings, Kensington Palace did not comment. The Princess was at home when the picture was taken by her husband.

a closer look at kate's wedding band and engagement ring, taken on her wedding day
A closer look at Kate’s wedding band and engagement ring, taken on her wedding day.WPA Pool - Getty Images

It is possible Kate took off her Welsh gold wedding band ahead of her surgery, as is common practice, and has yet to return it to her finger due to swelling or another aspect of her recovery.

Kate does not always wear her engagement ring, the iconic diamond and sapphire heirloom, which once belonged to Princess Diana. She often removes it during engagements involving physical activity or sports, like in 2022, when she took part in a sailing race with team Great Britain.

the duchess of cambridge joins the 1851 trust and the great britain sailgp team in plymouth
Kate, without her engagement ring, as she takes part in a sailing race with the Great Britain SailGP Team.Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

Notably, when engaging with medical staff or visiting hospitals, like the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, Kate also removes her ring to avoid it being a health and safety or hygiene hazard.

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