Eight years ago, Prince William slipped his mother’s sapphire engagement ring onto Kate Middleton’s finger, but it was recently revealed that when Diana died in 1997, Harry actually picked the ring as one of the things he’d like to keep of his mother’s. Instead of keeping the ring for his own engagement, though, he gave it to William when he proposed to the Duchess of Cambridge so that the ring could one day “be sat on the throne of England,” Express reports.
In 1997, the two brothers were allowed to pick jewelry from their mother’s collection after she passed away. Princess Diana’s butler Paul Burrell was putting away Diana’s things, and he told the mourning boys that they could each have a memento of their mother to keep safe. While William chose a beautiful Cartier watch that their grandfather gave to Diana for her 21st birthday, Harry wanted Diana’s engagement ring.
“I remember when I held Mummy’s hand when I was a small boy and that ring always hurt me because it was so big,” the younger prince said.
“‘Do you mean her engagement ring?'” Burrell says he asked the prince. “So I went to the safe and gave Harry Diana’s engagement ring.”
Years later, Prince William told Prince Harry that he was planning on proposing to Kate Middleton, and the younger brother told his older brother that he could have the heirloom ring, since he was the oldest and marrying first.
“Wouldn’t it be fitting if she had mummy’s ring? Then one day that ring will be sat on the throne of England,” Harry said.
Burrell says the move was the sort of selfless act that Diana herself would have done.
“Harry gave up his precious treasure. His one thing he kept from his mother, he gave to his brother. That’s selfless, kind, and exactly who Diana was,” Burrell said.
The stunning sapphire ring was designed by crown jeweler Garrard and cost $60,000. It has 14 solitaire diamonds in addition to the center blue sapphire, all set in a white gold band.
Middleton recently wore another piece of jewelry that Diana cherished when she appeared in Diana’s favorite Lover’s Knot tiara at a function at Buckingham Palace.
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Meghan Markle got a piece of Diana’s jewelry as well. Her three-stone ring features a new center Botswana diamond flanked by two diamonds that belonged to the princess. Harry also gave her Diana’s memorable emerald-cut aquamarine ring on their wedding day.