The Most Memorable Royal Engagement Rings, Ranked By Sentimental Value
Royal weddings have always inspired trends—from Kate Middleton's Alexander McQueen gown to Meghan Markle's three-stone engagement ring. And with the recent announcement of Princess Beatrice's engagement to beau Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi—who proposed with a custom-made four-carat diamond and platinum ring by British jeweller Shaun Leane—the royal is set to give rise to new bridal trends.
But as we await the upcoming wedding set to take place next year, we look back at the other iconic royal romances of their time, and the beautiful stories that accompany them. These are the most memorable royal engagement rings—ranked by their sentimental value, from the most sentimental.
1/5 Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex
Like William, Prince Harry wanted to honour their mother, Diana on their big day. When he designed Meghan’s engagement ring, Harry included two round diamonds from a brooch that belonged to Diana, flanking a three-carat cushion cut diamond from Botswana—the South African country where the couple first vacationed together and fell in love.
The gems are set on a yellow gold band, which is reportedly Meghan’s favourite. The duchess redesigned it this year, however, switching it for a delicate micro-pavé band—perhaps to celebrate the birth of their son Archie.
2/5 Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge
A Garrard creation, Kate Middleton’s engagement ring boasts a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds and set in 18-karat white gold. But what truly makes it memorable is the fact that it belonged to Prince William’s late mother, Princess Diana. The ring was chosen by the Princess of Wales herself from the crown jeweller’s collection, and she continued to wear it after her divorce from Prince Charles.
Upon her death, the ring was eventually inherited by William, who proposed to Kate with it in 2010 as a “way of making sure [his] mother didn't miss out on today and the excitement.”
3/5 Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth may have access to the rarest gems and the most precious heirlooms, but the story behind her engagement ring from Prince Philip—whom she has been married to for over 70 years—is definitely priceless. Featuring a three-carat, brilliant-cut diamond solitaire with five pavé diamonds on each side set in platinum—the ring was created from the jewels on a diamond and aquamarine tiara that belonged to Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg.
The Princess had offered her own headpiece as a gift as Philip was not well-to-do then. The tiara was a gift from Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra of Russia.
4/5 Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Happily married to Prince Charles for 14 years now, Camilla and Charles went through a tumultuous relationship in the early years that was one of the biggest scandals of the British monarchy. Years after the death of Princess Diana, the royal family and the general public eventually warmed up to Camilla, and the pair announced their engagement in 2005.
Camilla’s engagement ring was an Art Deco piece that features a five-carat emerald-cut diamond, flanked by three diamond baguettes on each side. It originally belonged to the Queen Mother, believed to have been given to her when she gave birth to Queen Elizabeth II. Charles was her favourite grandson, and she reportedly offered the couple respite in her Scottish home, Birkhall amidst backlash from Charles’ divorce.
5/5 Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor
The love story of American socialite Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII, former King of Wales was controversial for their time. A two-time divorcee who divorced her second husband to marry Edward, their relationship was frowned upon—resulting in Edward abdicating the throne in order to marry for love.
Edward proposed on October 27, 1936, with a 19.77 carat emerald ring from Cartier, engraved with the message “We are ours now 27 x 36”—how romantic. The couple was conferred the titles of Duke and Duchess of Windsor, travelling between Europe and the United States.
(Related: On Royals Marrying Outside The Monarch)