The Surprising Reason Kate Middleton Isn’t Wearing Her Engagement Ring While Social Distancing

Kate Middleton skipped two very notable pieces of jewelry when getting dressed for her most recent (virtual) royal engagement.

The 38-year-old Duchess of Cambridge opted not to wear her iconic engagement ring and infinity band when she was photographed chatting with Place2Be CEO, Catherine Roche, over the phone from her home office earlier this week. No, she’s not pulling a Meghan Markle and forgoing her signature jewels because she’s pregnant and experiencing swelling of the hands. Based on what we know about the duchess, it much more likely signifies an effort by the mom of three to encourage adequate hand-washing during these unique times.

Why? Well, it’s known that rings can harbor bacteria on hands that won’t necessarily be washed away when sanitizing. So, not wearing rings (especially ones that large!) can be impactful in the effort to stop the spread of the virus.

Middleton has skipped wearing her late mother-in-law’s former engagement ring in favor of her more demure Welsh gold wedding band on more than one occasion. Typically, when the duchess visits a hospital, like her stop in at Evelina London Children’s Hospital in January or her 2018 opening of the Great Ormond Street Hospital Mittal Children’s Medical Centre, she wears minimal jewelry so she can cleanse her hands as thoroughly as possible.

Although she was safe at home when she and Prince William were photographed at their Kensington Palace residence (above), her decision to leave her rings off signals how dedicated she is to proper hand-washing and serving as a good example as we all adjust to this new normal.

If only we knew what 20-second song she sings while washing her hands…