There are numerous ways the British upper crust and royals are different from the rest of us. They attend polo matches and horse races in fancy hats; they have things like country homes that come with a staff; their outfits are detailed in the international press; and, oh yeah, they also function within a tradition-bound milieu governed by a complex, prescriptive set of social codes, many of which would make us commoners raise an eyebrow. That’s why we’re thoroughly enjoying the fact that James Matthews, the 41-year-old, brand-new husband of Pippa Middleton, has been spotted everywhere wearing a wedding ring.
Maybe you’re wondering why this is worth commenting on at all (because weddings = wedding rings, duh), but here’s the thing: most upper crust British men don’t wear wedding bands. It’s simply not done. “Men of the aristocracy and gentry – and those without title or land but with good judgment – do not wear jewellery, which includes wedding bands,” etiquette expert William Hanson recently told the UK’s Daily Mail. (Apparently, the only acceptable man-jewelry is a signet pinky ring with the family crest on it, but we digress.) Come to think of it, we’ve never seen Prince William, Prince Philip or even former Prime Minister David Cameron sporting a wedding band, either… which makes Matthews’ ring-wearing all the more noteworthy.
According to the Daily Mail, Middleton ‘insisted’ that her new hubby wear a ring post-nuptials – to which we say, thanks, James, for being so game, and thanks, Pippa, for bringing a tiny dash of modernity to your brand-new partnership. (Rings for everyone!) Far be it from us to pooh-pooh all things traditional, but there’s something so refreshing about seeing the Middleton-Matthewses embrace a more egalitarian vision of marriage.
Because you know what? Sometimes a little break from tradition can be a very good thing.