The iconic engagement ring Prince Charles bestowed on Princess Diana when the two became engaged in 1981 has become one of the most treasured and beloved tokens of love within the royal family, but it also caused great fury within the clan as well.
When Buckingham Palace announced on February 24, 1981, that Charles and Lady Diana Spencer were engaged after a brief courtship, the world let out a collective gasp at the stunning ring the young woman sported on the third finger of her left hand.
While most Americans give and receive diamond-centric rings, Diana’s was a stunning change from the norm, featuring a 12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds. It was a controversial choice for the newly-minted member of the royal family to make, but Diana did not realize the royal family was none too fond of her choice.
The Daily Express reported that the prince provided Diana with a selection of rings from the Crown’s jeweler, Garrard, who traced the design of the ring back to royal jewelry of the past, a reflection of the brooch given to Queen Victoria by her husband, Prince Albert, on their wedding day.
The reason the royal family was unhappy with Diana’s choice was that the ring was a stock item from the jeweler’s catalog. What this means is that anyone with the same funds that could afford to spend the estimated $57K on the ring could own the same engagement ring as the princess.
The royal family prides itself on the exclusivity of their jewelry. Therefore, they frowned upon what they considered a common choice for the ring, as it was not a custom-made item that would be difficult to replicate. Although they were none too happy with her choice, Diana reportedly adored the ring and continued to wear it even after her divorce from Charles. The ring would go on to become an iconic symbol of their relationship and generate affordable copycat versions worn by women all over the world.
The ring was part of Diana’s estate of heirloom jewelry and remained in the family after she was tragically killed in a car accident in Paris in 1997. Almost 30 years later, her oldest son, Prince William, would use her ring to propose to Kate Middleton. Prince Harry would also use several diamonds from his mother’s collection in the design of the ring he would present to American actress Meghan Markle.
Readers Digest reported that William also gave his wife a few other items from Diana’s collection, including a pair of sapphire earrings, a three-strand pearl bracelet, the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara that was one of Diana’s favorites, and a gold Cartier Tank Francaise watch, which was given to the late princess by her father, the late Earl of Spencer.
Harry gave Meghan the striking emerald-cut aquamarine cocktail ring she wore at her evening wedding reception on their wedding day, a set of butterfly earrings, and a favorite gold bracelet of his mother’s.
The Inquisitr reported that a new book and podcast titled Fatal Voyage: Diana Case Solved, claims to have “the definitive account and evidence that proves what really happened” on the night of August 31, 1997, when Diana’s car crashed inside the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris, instantly killing the princess’ companion Dodi Fayed and the car’s driver Henri Paul.