From solitaires to triple-stone settings, diamond rings have long been the tradition when declaring undying love. Sometimes a royal has got to shake up tradition and add a splash of color, and there are a few classics in the British Royal Family. Enjoy!
The Queen’s Engagement Ring
After a courtship of several years delayed by WWII, Philip Mountbatten returned to Britain and proposed to Princess Elizabeth. He had dismantled one of his mother’s old tiaras to provide the diamonds for the ring. Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Greece, was living in London at the time and brought her jewels to a Bond Street jeweler to create the ring and a wedding bracelet. Philip was not able to do so personally in the event he was recognized by someone, blowing the secret.
The Duchess of Cornwall’s ring
Clarence House announced the engagement of Camilla Parker-Bowles (neé Shand) and the Prince of Wales on February 5, 2005. Charles proposed with a ring that once belonged to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother – his beloved grandmother. The ring was originally a gift to Elizabeth by her husband, Prince Albert (the future George VI). Albert was overjoyed when his wife gave birth to their first daughter, and he presented her with this emerald-cut diamond with 3 diamond baguettes along each side.
Zara (Phillips) Tindall’s Ring
Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara, was engaged to Mike Tindall on December 21, 2010. He presented his beloved with a diamond solitaire set on a split platinum band with several channel-set diamonds.
HRH The Countess of Wessex’s Ring
Prince Edward, now Earl of Wessex, gave Sophie Rhys-Jones a 2-carat oval diamond supported by heart-shaped diamonds on either side. Her wedding band, like all British royal brides, was made with Welsh gold. That’s one tradition that never changes despite the varying styles and designs of engagement rings!
Some royals chose to buck the diamond trend and instead go for a colorful gem. Look no further than this fascinating set of sapphires:
The most famous precious gem in recent times belonged to the late Diana, Princess of Wales. The eye-popping oval Ceylon sapphire surrounded by tiny baguette diamonds was chosen by Diana herself for her engagement to Prince Charles in 1981. The engagement ring is now worn by her daughter-in-law Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.
Charles and Diana’s son, Prince William, used this ring to propose to the former Kate Middleton while on holiday in Kenya together. With Diana in his thoughts, “this was my way of keeping her close to it all,” said William.
However, Diana was not the first to wear a sapphire and diamond engagement ring. Princess Anne, the Queen’s daughter, was given a sapphire ring for both of her engagements.
Princess Anne’s Rings
Princess Anne, the Queen’s only daughter, was engaged to Captain Mark Phillips with a triple stone ring – a round sapphire flanked by two round diamonds, each one about a carat. Sadly, they divorced. When it was announced that Anne was to remarry, her ring turned out to be the same stones, but in different styles. Timothy Laurence gave Anne a cabochon sapphire stone with three small diamonds on each side.
Jack Brooksbank proposed to Princess of Eugenie of York with a pink Padparadscha sapphire, the most unique royal ring of all. Their engagement was announced on January 22, 2018 when Eugenie happily shared her good news and showed the world her beautiful ring. The Padparadscha is named for the lotus flower, Nelumbo nucifera, which has deep pink petals with a yellow pistil.
Typical blue sapphires are part of the corundum mineral family, which also includes these “fancy sapphires” which come in violet, green, yellow, orange, pink. Blue sapphires get their color from titanium and iron whereas padparadscha sapphires contain elements of chromium with iron.
Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, the Queen’s younger sister, was engaged to photographer friend Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960. He had the ruby and diamond ring designed to resemble a rose in honor of the princess, whose full name was Margaret Rose.
Fast Facts Engagement Sheet!
Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten (HM the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh)
Engagement announced: July 9th, 1947.
Married: November 20th, 1947.
Princess Anne Captain Mark Phillips
Engagement Announced: May 29th, 1973.
Married: November 14th, 1973 (Div. 1992). Anne married Timothy Laurence on December 12th, 1992.
Prince Edward & Ms. Sophie Rhys-Jones
Engagement announced: January 6th, 1999.
Married: June 19, 1999.
The Prince of Wales & Lady Diana Spencer
Engagement announced: February 24, 1981.
Married: July 1981 (Div. 1996). Charles married Camilla (Shand) Parker-Bowles in April 2005.
Zara Phillips & Michael Tindall
Engagement announced: December 21, 2010.
Married: July 30th, 2011.
HRH Prince William of Wales & Ms. Catherine Middleton
Engagement announced: November 16th, 2010.
Married: April 29th, 2011.