The past year we’ve been so distracted by how cute the British royal offspring is – we simply can’t get enough of adorable little Archie! – that we’ve almost forgotten how excited we were before and during some of the biggest recent royal weddings. The dress, the flowers, the car, the guest list… with so much grandeur to look forward to, we can’t help but obsess over these fairytale-like celebrations.
But before the wedding, comes the engagement of course. And although it’s often the sparkly tiaras and intricate headgear that steals the show at the weddings, some of the most recognized royal engagement rings seem to be even more popular than those who made them famous. Some, like Kate Middleton’s engagement ring, has sparked worldwide trends for diamond jewelry rings and will be talked about for years to come. Whether you are engagement ring shopping or not, our list of the 10 most famous and glittering royal rings is sure to brighten up your day.
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If you’re planning on getting engaged soon, we can’t think of a better way to win over the queen of your heart than with a ring from one of the best engagement ring stores and top 10 diamond jewelry brands in the world: Shimansky. Visit your nearest Shimansky showroom to view their exquisite selection of gorgeous diamond jewelry. And if you’re the fiancée to be and secretly hoping for a sparkler like Meghan Markle’s engagement ring, you’re sure to find the ring of your dreams at Shimansky on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Remember to drop a few hints to your Prince Charming.
1. Queen Elizabeth II
Even though her then-future husband, Prince Phillip, was born royal, his family wasn’t particularly wealthy at the time of their engagement in 1947. His mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, lent him a tiara to be disassembled so he could use the diamonds for the ring – a three-carat, round-cut center diamond surrounded by smaller diamonds, all set in platinum. It certainly set a high standard for platinum diamond jewelry at the time. Got an eye on a platinum diamond jewelry sparkler of your own like the Millennium Ring? Be sure to bookmark what catches your attention online and send it to your beloved when he asks.
2. Princess Anne
Princess Anne was engaged twice, and although the styles of the rings differed, her engagement ring finger was never without a ‘something blue’. Her first fiancé, Captain Mark Phillips, proposed with a sapphire and diamond ring in 1973. The couple had two children but announced their separation in 1989. The Princess went on to marry Sir Timothy Laurence in 1992, and this time the ring featured a sapphire set in gold and flanked by three smaller diamonds on each side.
3. Princess Margaret
The photographer Anthony Armstrong Jones proposed to the Queen’s younger sister in 1959 with a ruby engagement ring surrounded by smaller diamonds. The ring was designed by the groom-to-be to resemble a rosebud – a romantic nod to the Princess’ middle name, Rose. If you have your heart set on a floral-inspired engagement ring, look no further than this unique yet timeless design.
4. Wallis Simpson
Now, on to an equally romantic yet somewhat sensational proposal: Edward, The Prince of Wales, made the ultimate sacrifice to marry the love of his life, American actress Wallis Simpson, by abdicating the throne in 1937. It caused quite the scandal at the time. But sensation aside, the ring was a showstopper and featured a romantic personal message. Edward had the words ‘We are ours now 27x36’ inscribed on the band, referring to October 27th, 1936, the date of their engagement. The striking 19.77-carat rectangular emerald piece was set in gold and included several smaller diamonds. If you’re considering a gold engagement ring, this is the perfect example of how well gold and green marries.
5. Diana, Princess of Wales
In the history of engagement rings, we doubt there could be a more famous piece than Lady Di’s dazzling oval engagement ring. Prince Charles proposed to Diana during a private dinner in 1981, but instead of proposing with a ring, he gave her the option to choose one of her likings. She picked a white gold engagement ring with a 12-carat blue sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds. We think it’s safe to say she made an excellent choice!
6. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
When Prince Charles proposed to his second wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, in 2005, he chose a valuable family heirloom – a platinum emerald-cut engagement ring that belonged to his grandmother, the Queen Mother. The art-deco style ring consists of a large center diamond flanked by three diamond baguettes on each side, and it’s set in platinum. Platinum diamond jewelry remains one of the most popular choices for classic engagement ring styles.
7. Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York
When Prince Charles’ brother, Prince Andrew, proposed to Sarah Ferguson in 1985, he popped the question with a breathtakingly beautiful ruby ring. Her gorgeous red hair allegedly inspired him. How sweet! The ring is another stunning example of a flower engagement ring: The center ruby is surrounded by 10 diamonds in a floral shape and set in yellow gold. If you’ve ever looked up the meanings of engagement ring stones, you’ll now rubies symbolize love, passion and energy.
8. Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge
Oval engagement rings made a huge comeback when Kate Middleton got engaged to Prince William in 2010. You might recognize the striking sapphire accessory as the same one his father gave his mother. Yes, William chose Princess Diana’s engagement ring partly because he reportedly didn’t want her to ‘miss out’ on their big day. We think it’s a lovely gesture. The only changes made, was a slight resize from an I to an H to fit the Duchess’ engagement ring finger perfectly. Today, Kate Middleton’s engagement ring is considered the most famous blue sapphire ring in the world.
9. Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex
Like William, younger brother Prince Harry also paid special tribute to his late mother through his engagement ring choice for the American actress who stole his heart. The two got engaged in November 2017 and according to the Prince, it took him six months to design the ring. Meghan Markle’s engagement ring is what is referred to as a trilogy engagement ring or a three-stone engagement ring – it features a large diamond with two smaller diamonds on either side. The center diamond is from Botswana, said to be an ‘important place’ to the couple, and the smaller diamonds are from Princess Diana’s collection. It was recently spotted that Meghan’s ring had been redesigned ever so slightly – the original yellow gold band has been replaced with a thin micro-pavé band.
10. Princess Eugenie of York
The most recent royal engagement also suggested a tribute to the previous generation’s ring choices. Princess Eugenie, the youngest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York, got engaged to her long-time boyfriend, Jack Brooksbank, in January 2018. Though Jack had purchased the blush-colored center diamond beforehand, the couple designed the ring together following the proposal. Princess Eugenie’s engagement ring features a yellow-gold band with a very rare Padparadscha sapphire surrounded by 10 round diamonds and two pear-shaped diamonds. The floral-like setting is likely to have been inspired by the ruby and diamond engagement ring of Eugenie’s mother, Sarah.
Given the sheer exquisiteness and the touching stories behind some of these rings, it’s clear to see why the world continues to be so fascinated by the royals and their regal accessories.
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Choosing an engagement ring or wedding band for the love of your life is truly a rewarding experience and we’re delighted to guide you on this wonderful journey. Shimansky offers an extensive selection of gorgeous diamond jewelry rings that will help make choosing the perfect ring a memorable experience. Visit your nearest Shimansky showroom or make an appointment with a Shimansky expert.