Royal weddings are full of time-honoured traditions, from the myrtle in the bride’s bouquet to the sparkling tiara atop her head—and one of the most special, but lesser-known customs involves the wedding rings.
Since Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon’s marriage to the future King George VI in 1923, many royals (including the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex) have had their wedding bands made from Welsh gold, and the Queen is no exception.
In a new book titled Prince Philip: Revealed, royal biographer Ingrid Seward tells the story of the British monarch’s ring, revealing that the jewellery conceals a hidden message.
“At least Philip didn’t have the expense of a wedding ring, as the people of Wales supplied a nugget of Welsh gold from which the ring is made,” she wrote of Prince Philip, who had little fortune to his name when he married the then-Princess Elizabeth. “She never takes it off and inside the ring is an inscription. No one knows what it says, other than the engraver, the queen and her husband.”
While the subject of the inscription will likely remain a mystery, the queen has publicly spoken about her love for her husband on multiple occasions. On their golden anniversary in 1997, she said of Prince Philip:
“He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.”
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