Kate Middleton seen without engagement ring during coronavirus pandemic

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Kate Middleton‘s efforts to help slow the spread of COVID-19 appear to include the removal of her engagement ring.

Over the weekend, the Duchess of Cambridge was seen without her sapphire and diamond engagement ring — which once belonged to the late Princess Diana — in new portraits released by Kensington Palace, which capture her and husband Prince William working from home.

“Self-isolation and social distancing can pose huge challenges to our mental health — in recent weeks The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been in regular contact with organizations and patronages to understand the issues they are facing during this difficult time,” the caption to the images read.

Kate Middleton wearing her engagement ring in 2015Getty Images

In one photo, Kate, 38, is seated at a desk wearing a rose-colored Mark & Spencer suit, which she recently sported during a visit to the London Ambulance Service 111 control room. Though the mother of three’s most notable accessory isn’t present in the shot, it’s been speculated the move is a precaution.

As detailed in a 2018 Georgia State University study, “rings provide a protected area in which bacteria can flourish.”

Additionally, the CDC also noted, “Some studies have shown that skin underneath rings contains more germs than comparable areas of skin on fingers without rings.” The organization added, however, “Further studies are needed to determine if wearing rings results in an increased spread of potentially deadly germs.”

The royal family has also been impacted during the coronavirus outbreak, as William’s father, Prince Charles, tested positive. He is now out of self-isolation.