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Kate Middleton is not wearing her engagement ring and this is the reason why

The Duchess of Cambridge isn’t wearing this special accessory

Kate Middleton was missing one of her every day accessories while working from home recently. Over the weekend, Kensington Palace shared a new photo of the Duchess of Cambridge speaking on the phone with the CEO her patronage Place2Be. Eagle-eyed royal fans were quick to notice that the mom of three was not wearing her iconic engagement ring. While the Duchess wore her Welsh gold wedding band, the sapphire and diamond sparkler that once belonged to her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, was noticeably missing.

The image appears to have been taken the same day Kate and Prince William visited a London Ambulance Center. Kate, who wore the same pink pantsuit for the surprise visit, appeared to step out with her engagement ring for the outing, but had the ring off at home. While fans might be wondering why the Duchess chose not to wear the piece of jewelry at Kensington Palace, it could likely be because of hand washing during the coronavirus pandemic, or to avoid spreading the novel illness, as HOLA! USA’s sister brand HELLO! points out.

According to a 2018 Georgia State University study “rings provide a protected area in which bacteria can flourish.” The report noted that “Studies have demonstrated that rings are a major contributor to hand contamination due to higher bacterial colonization of the skin underneath rings than in areas of skin on fingers without rings. Contamination with transient flora even after hand hygiene practices is more likely when rings are worn.” Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “some studies have shown that skin underneath rings contains more germs than comparable areas of skin on fingers without rings.”

Kate has removed her rings in the past for hospital visits. Back in January, the Duchess visited Evelina London Children's Hospital sans her engagement ring and Eclipse diamond eternity ring. At the time, HELLO! confirmed that Princess Charlotte’s mom had removed the bands for health and safety reasons. Kensington Palace told HELLO! Online that the Duchess took off her accessories because she was visiting the children's wards, and, as such, it was important for the royal to remove any potential hygiene hazards.

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