Actually, Prince Charles Picked Out Princess Diana’s Engagement Ring
If you keep an eye on the royal family at all, youve definitely seen Princess Dianas 12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire engagement ring on the Duchess of Cambridge’s finger-she’s been wearing it since she got engaged to Prince William in the fall of 2010. But before it got its second life with Kate, this ring caught the eye of the world when Lady Diana Spencer flashed her hand at the cameras upon her engagement to Prince Charles.
As Brides notes and The Crown covers, Diana reportedly chose this specific ring because it reminded her of her mothers engagement ring. The ring did have royal influences though; per The Daily Mail, the crown jeweler Gerrard, who made the ring, was inspired by Prince Alberts wedding gift to Queen Victoria in 1840: a brooch with a diamond-and-sapphire design. The brooch was Victorias “something blue” at her wedding, and Queen Elizabeth now wears it for special events.
Before her unexpected death in August of 1997, Diana wrote the following in “a letter of wishes” to her executors to add to her will: “I would like you to divide my personal chattels at your discretion between my sons and godchildren, the division being three quarters to my sons and one quarter to my godchildren. I would like you to allocate all my jewelry to the share to be held by my sons, so that their wives may, in due course, have it or use it. I leave the exact division of the jewelry to your discretion.”
We know plenty of details about this ring in its afterlife, but what about its first? Here are the details of Dianas ring, and why for her, it was the one.
The royal family reportedly thought it wasnt special enough.
This white-gold ring with the Ceylon sapphire and 14 solitaire diamonds cost Prince Charles about double what I owe the federal government in student loans. As far as the royal family was concerned, though, it was not fit for a future queen. Was it because this ring didnt feature a big honkin diamond? Actually, no. As Vogue reports, the issue was that Diana picked the ring out from a Garrard catalogue, where anyone else with ?47,000 (a little more than $60,000 today) could also select it-royal or not. This ring simply wasnt exclusive enough.
According to the House of Garrard, though, Diana actually didnt pick out the ring, despite reports that she personally selected it. “Prince Charles had always seen this beautiful sapphire brooch of his mother’s,” the jewelry brand told , and “when he went to House of Garrard payday loans in South Dakota he saw that ring, and thought it was perfect.”
Dianas two most famous rings now belong to the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex.
As Oprah magazine notes, Diana loved her engagement ring and wore it consistently, even after she and Charles separated. But after Diana and Charles got divorced in 1996, the princess switched out the sapphire for an emerald-cut aquamarine ring that now belongs to Meghan Markle.
When Diana died in a tragic car accident in 1997, the ring was returned to the Wales family, and as she laid out in her wishes, her sons took possession of it. As Vogue pointed out following the 20th anniversary of Dianas death in 2017, there were rumors that Harry initially chose the sapphire ring, but when he saw how much William loved Kate, he let his brother have it.
“Its my mothers engagement ring, and its very special to me, as Kate is very special to me now as well. It was only right the two were put together,” William said in his initial engagement interview with Kate. “It was my way of making sure mother didnt miss out on today and the excitement and the fact that were going to spend the rest of our lives together.”
“I just hope I look after it,” Kate said in her engagement interview. “Its very, very special.” According to E! News, the ring is now worth ?300,000, or $500,000.
The sapphire ring remains one of the most famous in the world.
When William gave the ring to Kate, a whole new generation of royal fans took interest in it. Some, like this one featured in The Sun, even have replicas of it.
As Vanity Fair noted earlier this year, Kate hasnt been wearing the famous bobble much lately. In footage during the early days of the pandemic, she was wearing her wedding band without her engagement ring. To be fair, lockdown doesnt really lend itself to jewelry valued at half a million dollars.