Why Wasn’t Princess Kate Wearing Her Engagement Ring or Wedding Band in *That* Photo? Kensington Palace Explains (Kind Of)

If you think your Monday is rough...

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty)

In a move that was likely intended to stop endless internet chatter and speculation, one photo taken of the Princess of Wales and her three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis has ignited an entirely different kind of controversy.

Amongst the endless chatter surrounding Kate’s now-infamous Mother’s Day photo is the question “Where is her engagement ring and, while we’re at it, where is her wedding band?” Even before news agencies like Reuters, AP, and Getty pulled the photo last night citing digital manipulation, social media was aflutter over the missing ring. Though Kensington Palace apparently has no plans to release the original, unedited photo of Kate and the kids from yesterday, it did have time to address the question of the missing ring—and it’s a simple explanation, The Mirror reports. 

“Kate’s office simply responded to questions about her ring by stating the royal was ‘at home’ when the photo was taken and dismissed any speculation about her marriage to Prince William by confirming ‘it was her husband who took the photo,’” The Mirror writes, citing a report from ITV News.

It’s worth pointing out, too, that (didn’t know if you’d heard this or not, but) Kate also recently underwent abdominal surgery in January “and may have had to remove her wedding band ahead of the procedure, and simply hasn’t put it back on yet,” The Mirror writes. (Her surgery, for anyone keeping score, was 55 days ago.)

The wedding ring was one of many perceived errors spotted in the photo, and multiple news agencies issued separate “kill notices” to media organizations globally, confirming they had each removed the image over claims it had been manipulated. 

Princess Kate apology

"Never complain, never explain" no more?

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Prince and Princess of Wales / Instagram)

Kensington Palace is under increased pressure to explain not just the photo but Kate’s overall condition. Following the unexpected surgery on January 16, a statement was released the next day confirming it happened and that Kate would be off royal duty until essentially April. (They specified until after Easter, which this year falls on March 31.) The last time Kate had been seen publicly prior to the announcement was Christmas Day, alongside the rest of the royal family at Sandringham.

Prince Louis and Kate Middleton

Kate and the family photographed just before normalcy as we knew it ended with the royal family

(Image credit: Getty Images)

At the end of February, right around the time William unexpectedly pulled out of attending a memorial service for his godfather, King Constantine of Greece, rumors, speculation, and conspiracy theories about Kate’s health skyrocketed on the internet and social media. Coincidence or not, Kate was spotted by paparazzi out driving with her mother, Carole Middleton, last Monday, March 4—the first time she’d been seen publicly since Christmas Day, 70 days prior. When the buzz didn’t die down, the Mother’s Day photo was released yesterday and—you know the rest.

“This is bad for the royals,” royal commentator Peter Hunt said, per The Mirror. “They knew there would be a lot of attention in any pictures they released of Kate. Their concern is that people will now wonder if they can be trusted and believed when they provide the next health report.”

The saga continues.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.