Jewelry Blog

British Royal Family Engagement Rings

Princess Diana Engagement Ring

The engagement of members of the British Royal Family captures the hearts and minds of millions worldwide. Even before social media , there was so much excitement surrounding royal engagements and weddings. Much of it may have to do with the magical romance between the royal couples, but our fascination extends to the beauty of royal engagement rings .

Let’s look at some of the most spectacular rings given as a token of adoration.

Royal Engagement Rings Throughout History

Engagement rings have long been symbolic throughout history. Egyptians believed rings represented eternity as circular signals. It has no beginning or end. Moving into Ancient Rome and the Middle Ages, rings were given as symbols of love. The tradition of engagement rings quickly spread around Europe. By Victorian times, engagement rings belonged solely to the domain of the upper classes. Since then, extravagant rings have become a staple among the royals, starting as early as the 1800s.

The 1800s

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria Engagement Ring

Prince Albert presented Queen Victoria with a unique serpent engagement ring wrapped in 18-carat gold in 1865. The serpent featured ruby eyes, diamonds at the mouth, and an emerald at the center. The emerald was Victoria’s birthstone. A snake is a metaphor for something ominous or evil in Western culture. However, in Rome, the serpent was a symbol of love and adoration. It is believed that Prince Albert designed the ring himself. The stone weighed in at around 20 carats. The popularity of diamond engagement rings rose significantly after the 19th century. It was then that diamonds were discovered.

Edward VII

Edward VII proposed to Alexandra of Denmark with a ring designed by London Jewelers Garrard & Co. It consisted of four gemstones: an emerald, ruby, beryl, and jacinth. Each stone contained a letter. Alexandra’s gemstones spelled BERTIE, a name she affectionately called her husband. Known as acrostic jewelry, the first use of it can be traced to the jewelry designer Jean-Baptiste Mellerio. Unfortunately, there’s no information currently available about the ring’s worth.

The 1900s

King Edward VIII

Wallis Simpson Engagement Ring

King Edward VII proposed to Wallis Simpson, an American socialite, in October 1936. The ring he gave her featured an enormous 19.77-carat emerald. It was rectangular in shape and sat within a border of 14 brilliant cut diamonds. The ring was engraved with “We are ours now 27 X 36”. This was in reference to Edward’s proposal day.

The emerald King Edward VII chose was sourced by Jacques Cartier. Although emeralds aren’t a traditional engagement stone, perhaps Edward VII didn’t want to stick to traditions. After all, he abdicated the throne to marry the American actress. The reason being, the church of England didn’t allow remarriages after divorce. His finance was, in fact, a twice divorcee, so that was the only way he could marry her.

Besides, Wallis absolutely adored green gemstones. Edward showered her with many emeralds throughout her life. The engagement ring was estimated to be worth more than £1.5 million.

Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (Queen Mother)

This ring is from our collection and strongly resembles Queen Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon’s Ring

They say three times a charm. That certainly was the case for the Duke of York. It took three attempts before Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (also known as the Queen Mother) agreed to marry him in 1923. He gifted her a Welsh gold wedding band that featured a rare Kashmir sapphire ring flanked by diamonds. The Queen Mother would later switch the sapphire out for a pearl surrounded by small diamonds.

Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott (married to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester)

Little detailed information is available regarding the specifics of Lady Alice Montagu’s ring. All we know is that she received a sapphire stone. They announced their engagement in 1935.

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen-Elizabeth-Engagement-Ring.jpg

Prince Phillip proposed to Elizabeth II in 1946 with a ring he designed. The Queen’s ring featured a 3-carat round-cut diamond and 10 smaller diamonds around the band. The diamonds belonged to Phillip’s mother and the ring was set in white metal. Later, Queen Elizabeth completed her ring with a band made from Welsh gold. Touchingly, the Queen never removed the ring after Phillip asked for her hand in marriage.

Princess Margaret

Ruby Halo Engagement Ring
This ring is a close representation of Princess Margaret’s Engagement Ring

Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister, was engaged to photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones in February 1960. Her ring featured a ruby at the center and was surrounded by a ring of diamonds to make the stone appear like a flower surrounded by petals. Since the ring strongly resembled a rose, many thought her engagement ring was linked to her middle name: Rose. They were the first couple to end their marriage since King Henry VII annulled his union more than 430 years prior in 1450.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and Katharine Worsley

Prince Edward and Katharine Worsley became engaged in 1961. Edward gave her an engagement ring with an oval-shaped sapphire with diamonds on each side, mounted on a platinum ring.

Princess Anne

Princess Anne announced her engagement to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973. The style of the sapphire ring would later be adopted by Princess Diana and Kate Middleton. The royals were always big fans of sapphires as it is believed to attract abundance and protect against negative energies. Engagement ring specialists estimate the ring to be worth around £10,000.

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson

Prince Andrew proposed to Sarah Ferguson in 1986 with an oval-cut ruby from Garrard. He was said to have chosen it because it matched the color of her hair. Although ruby isn’t a typical choice for a stone, it has been used by celebrities like Katy Perry. Sarah’s engagement ring is set in a diamond ring with a band of yellow gold.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana Engagement Ring

Arguably the most iconic engagement ring in the world, Princess Diana chose a 12-carat Ceylon sapphire with an oval shape. Her engagement to Prince Charles was announced in 1984 following a short courtship. The ring was surrounded by 14 diamonds and came from Garrad’s catalog.

The Queen was reportedly unhappy with Princess Diana’s decision because it was a piece that anyone shopping at Garrad could purchase if they had £60,000. That means, in other words, it wasn’t exclusive to the Royal Family.

But that didn’t stop the ring from becoming popular. This halo-style piece became a new trend for engagement rings. So did the use of colored gemstones. Sapphire clusters are now one of the most popular options available.

Prince Edward

The Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, announced his engagement to Sophie-Rhys-Jones in 1999. The ring featured a 2-carat diamond flanked by two smaller heart-shaped diamonds. Sometimes, she wears it alongside a simple gold wedding band. The ring is reportedly worth $149,000.

Lady Sarah Chatto

Princess Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah Chatto, received a beautiful vintage cluster engagement ring after announcing her engagement to Daniel Chatto in May 1994. The 19th-century engagement ring is set on a silver platform surrounded by a reddish gold shank with roses. The ring was sourced from a place called Wartski’s in London.

2000s

Queen Camilla

Camilla Engagement Ring

The then Prince Charles proposed to Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005. Camilla was long thought to be Prince Charles’ first love. However, several factors prevented them from becoming a couple. The biggest factor was that the Royal Family didn’t feel Camilla was a suitable match for the heir to the throne.

Eventually, however, the two would wed, but not before Prince Charles presented a large, emerald-cut 5-carat diamond to Camilla. It originally belonged to Prince Charles’ mother. The ring is reported to be worth around $250,000 and features baguette side diamond stones in the style initially worn by Grace Kelly.

Originally an American actress, Grace Kelly wore the most expensive royal engagement ring ever. Prince Rainier III of Monaco proposed to Grace with a Cartier band that features a whopping 10.47-carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring. The ring has been valued at more than $38 million. Grace’s engagement ring inspired the style of many others, including well-known celebrities today like Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian.

Peter Phillips

Princess Anne’s son, Peter Phillips, met his finance Autumn Kelly at the Canadian Gran Prix in 2003. He later proposed in 2007 with a platinum ring featuring an oval diamond with smaller diamonds on each side. The ring is worth more than $85,000.

Kate Middleton

Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton in 2010 with the same ring that his mother, Princess Diana, wore. Initially left to Harry, the brothers were allowed to choose one of their mother’s personal possessions following Princess Diana’s death. William initially chose his mother’s Cartier watch. Harry chose the ring. But they switched it once Harry realized William’s love for Kate.

Zara Phillips

Mike Tindall proposed to Zara Phillips, the eldest daughter of Prince Anne, in 2010 with a custom engagement ring. The ring features a round 5-carat diamond with a diamond-encrusted band set in platinum. The ring is estimated to be worth $200,000. The diamond has a low-profile setting, so Zara doesn’t have to remove her ring while participating in equestrian events.

Princess Eugenie of York

Jack Brooksbank proposed to Princess Eugenie of York in January 2018. The ring is similar to Kate Middleton’s and features a sapphire in the middle, but you’ll quickly note the pinkish-orange shade. This is one of the rarest sapphires in the world, known as the Padparadscha. The stone is flanked by two 0.75-carat pear-shaped diamonds along the circle of smaller cut diamonds. The band is made with Welsh gold as per the royal tradition. The ring is estimated to be worth around $100,000.

Princess Beatrice

Princess Beatrice got engaged in 2019 to Eduardo Mapelli Mozzi. The ring was designed by Shaun Leane, a British jeweler. A round-cut diamond with smaller diamonds in a platinum setting, this engagement ring departs from many of the newer styles featured. It more closely resembles that worn by Queen Elizabeth, Beatrice’s grandmother.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle Engagement Ring

Prince Harry proposed to Meghan Markle with a three-stone diamond set in yellow gold. The diamond was sourced from their first vacation destination of Botswana. It sits between two round diamonds on each side. The smaller diamonds are from Princess Diana’s collection of jewelry. Meghan later updated the ring to feature a sparkling pave band. The ring is currently being repaired and is said to be worth more than $160,000.

Talk to a Jewelry Expert

Talk to a jewelry expert if you want a ring in the same style or fashion as one of the royals. If you need help finding an engagement ring similar to one of the beautiful royal rings, don’t hesitate to contact Estate Diamond Jewelry. The EDJ team has a wide selection of rings. Having been in the business for decades, we’ve got the knowledge to help you make the right decision.

British Royal Family Engagement Rings

The British Royal Family has done it all in spectacular style. From unique designs like the snake-shaped ring, emeralds, rare diamonds, or sapphires that have messages in them. If you want something similar, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll help you pick out something to suit your needs and preferences. We’ll do that while keeping your budget in mind.

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About Benjamin Khordipour

Benjamin Khordipour is one of the jewelry researchers and gemologists at Estate Diamond Jewelry. He received his official gemological degrees from both the GIA and GUBELIN. He also regularly contributes to Business Insider, Forbes, Rapaport, CNBC, and Brides Magazine. Benjamin was born in New York and joined Estate Diamond Jewelry in 2014. He is passionate about vintage jewelry and diamonds. This blog was built on his strong belief that jewelers have a responsibility to properly educate their customers. In 2019, Benjamin co-authored the book The Engagement Ring Guide for Men. His favorite vintage jewelry era is the Art Deco Era and his favorite type of stone is the Kashmir Sapphire. He also collects rare antique pins.