Alongside the spectacular and historic gem-encrusted jewels that King Charles will wear during his coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey on May 6th there will sit one small and relatively unassuming piece.

But don’t let its lack of size or sparkle fool you, this piece is no less significant to the King than all the other more attention seeking jewels. He has rarely been photographed without it since first slipping it on his finger in 1969 - we’re talking, of course, about his signet ring.

Presented to him by his mother, our late Queen Elizabeth II, soon after his investiture as the Prince of Wales in 1969, it is a classic oval signet ring in 18ct yellow gold engraved with the Prince of Wales feathers and the motto ‘Ich Dien’ which means ‘I Serve’.

Prince of Wales wearing Gold Classic Oval Signet Ring

This oval shape is often referred to as the Oxford oval and is the most traditional shape which has consistently proved our most popular design, although we do offer others as well. They are available in a range of precious metals with 18ct yellow gold, like the King's, being the most frequently selected option. We offer four different head sizes which we measure by length and width of the oval edge to edge ranging from 10mmx8mm to 16x13mm. The size you choose should be proportionate to your hand as well as achieving the overall look you want to create whether that is discreet or attention grabbing!

Man wearing Oxford Oval Gold Signet ring by Hancocks

The engraving on King Charles' signet ring signifies his role as the Prince of Wales which is one that he took seriously and was very committed to. He held the title for sixty-four years from 1958 to 2022, longer than any previous heir apparent. The ring stands as a symbol of the title and the duty that goes with it, a daily reminder of the oath he took “I, Charles, Prince of Wales, do become your liege man of life and limb and of earthly worship, and faith and truth I will bear unto thee, to live and die against all manner of folks.”

Those with eagle eyes might notice that the King wears his wedding ring tucked underneath the signet ring rather than on his fourth finger as is traditional. This could be because he finds it more comfortable than wearing the two rings side by side or it might just be a style statement and personal preference.

The signet ring is believed to have belonged to his great uncle, Edward VIII when he himself was Prince of Wales between 1910 and 1936. And if the ring is indeed over 170 years old as some sources suggest then it is likely to have been worn by George V and Edward VII before that.

Should this be the case then it stands to reason that Prince William will inherit the signet ring in due course but it is interesting to note that the King chooses to keep wearing the ring, despite passing the title Prince of Wales to his son. If it is not the heirloom it is purported to be and is in fact a personal item belonging specifically to the King then he will no doubt continue to wear it after the coronation and for the rest of his life. We will have to keep our eyes on his left pinky finger to find out.