11 Facts You Never Knew

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This month marks the 10th Anniversary of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s glorious wedding. That’s right, 10 years ago – on April 29, 2011 to be exact – the pair, who had been dating since university, tied the knot at Westminster Abbey.

A title change (they now go by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge), three children and a decade later, Kate Middleton remains one of the most memorable brides in history, with each part of her nuptial ensemble, from her Alexander McQueen gown and shoes, to her Cartier Halo Scroll Tiara and typically bouncy blow-dry, beheld as the pinnacle of bridal beauty.

However, while her bridal outfit was truly gorgeous and well worth the heightened anticipation, it’s the accessory she received months prior and still wears to this day that will forever hold a special place in our hearts: Kate Middleton’s engagement ring.

The sapphire ring, given to the now-39-year-old in October 2010, holds deep meanings for the wedded pair, with connections to Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and, of course, Diana Princess of Wales, who previously owned the ring.

Some may already know Kate Middleton’s engagement ring was once Princess Diana’s engagement ring, but not many will be aware of the rest of this ring’s storied past, from what it’s worth and how it has been altered, to how it breaks from tradition and was almost Meghan Markle’s engagement ring.

Here are 11 facts about Kate Middleton’s engagement ring:

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1

Ring Inspiration

The former and first Crown Jeweller, Garrard, previously revealed to Vogue that Kate Middleton’s engagement ring was inspired by a sapphire and diamond brooch beloved by the Queen and made a Crown heirloom by Queen Victoria.

The brooch, made by Garrard, was a gift from Prince Albert to his soon-to-be-bide Queen Victoria in 1840.

‘She found she loved it so much that she decided to wear it on her wedding day as her something blue on the front of her dress,’ Sara Prentice, Garrard’s current creative director, said.

In her will Queen Victoria ensured her late husband’s gift would stay in the hands of the reigning monarch by making it a Crown heirloom. And Queen Elizabeth II became equally enamoured with the brooch, wearing it frequently throughout her reign.

So, when the time came for Prince Charles to put together a selection of engagement rings for his fiancé Princess Diana (more on that later), it’s perhaps unsurprising this was one of his chosen few.

‘It was said to be a strong influence on Prince Charles when he came to Garrard to purchase a ring for Lady Diana. He actually ended up setting a sapphire cluster ring for her, which was later given by Prince William to the Duchess of Cambridge on their engagement,’ Prentice said. ‘I would imagine growing up being surrounded by your mother and your grandmother [with] such beautiful, incredible jewellery…it would stick with you.’

Since the brooch is Crown heirloom, Kate will one day own the brooch that inspired her ring when she is Queen consort.

2

Princess Diana’s Engagement Ring First

By now, you’ll know that Kate Middleton’s engagement ring was once owned by her late mother-in-law, Lady Diana Spencer prior to her wedding to Prince Charles.

This news was confirmed in Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2010 engagement interview.

‘It’s my mother’s engagement ring,’ the Duke of Cambridge stated. ‘Obviously she’s not going to be around to share any of the fun and excitement in all of this, so this is my way of keeping her close to it all.’

The mother-of-two loved the ring she chose so much she continued to wear it after her divorce from Prince Charles.

3

Princess Diana’s Engagement Ring Controversy

Despite its beauty and personal connection to the royal family, Princess Diana’s engagement ring was not seen as an ideal choice for a future Queen.

Prince Charles put a selection of Garrard’s pret-a-porter rings together for his fiancé to choose from, as depicted in The Crown. By the two of them choosing rings in this fashion, they were majorly breaking from tradition as the ring wasn’t deemed bespoke.

Since the ring was chosen from stock, anyone with a spare £47,000 (or £28,000 as reports differ) could’ve purchased the brooch-inspired ring which raised some eyebrows. But that didn’t stop both Prince Charles and Princess Diana loving it.

4

Ring’s Composition

Princess Diana’s and Kate Middleton’s engagement ring is made up of a 12-carat oval blue sapphire, 14 solitaire diamonds and set in 18K white gold.

5

Princess Diana’s Alteration

Prior to the wedding, Princess Diana’s engagement ring was believed to have had eight prongs surrounding the sapphire, while later pictures show 14 – no doubt placed there to further secure the precious stone.

7

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle’s Engagement Ring

It is rumoured that it is only through Prince Harry’s generosity that Princess Diana’s engagement ring is now Kate Middleton’s, and not Meghan Markle’s.

Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell revealed that when it came to choosing which jewellery items to inherit from their mother, it was Prince Harry who chose the famed ring, while Prince William chose her gold Cartier watch.

Burrell reports in The Diana Story that a young Prince Harry explained the reason for his choice: ‘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.’

When it came time for Prince William to propose to his university sweetheart, Prince Harry gave his brother, and therefore Kate who he is believed to have been extremely close with, the ring.

‘Wouldn’t it be fitting if she had mummy’s ring? Then one day that ring will be sat on the throne of England’, recalls Burrell.

Thankfully, Prince Harry ensured some of his mother was also present in Meghan Markle’s ring, which includes two diamonds from Princess Diana’s personal collection.

8

Carried In A Rucksack

As confirmed in Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2010 engagement interview, the young Prince had been carrying the possibly priceless ring around in a rucksack for weeks while on holiday in Kenya.

‘I’d been carrying it around with me in my rucksack for about three weeks before that,’ Prince William explained. ‘I literally would not let it go, wherever I went I was keeping a hold of it because I knew if this thing disappeared I’d be in a lot of trouble.’

9

Kate Middleton’s Alteration

Just like Princess Diana before her, the Duchess of Cambridge had the ring altered to ensure its safety. Prior to the couple’s April 29, 2011 wedding Middleton reportedly asked new crown jeweller G. Collins and Sons to resize the ring from Diana’s size H to Kate’s I. They did so by adding platinum beads to the interior of the ring.

10

Ring’s Worth

While there are reports of the original ring costing either between £28,000 to £47,000 in the 1980s, Kate Middleton’s engagement ring costs a heck of a lot more now.

Pre-owned jewellery specialist Est1897 named the ring the most expensive of all the royal engagement rings, estimating its worth to be £390,000 due to its carats and size of the sapphire.

However, due to its cultural importance, who knows what the actual ring could go for if sold at auction!

11

Kate Middleton’s Engagement Ring Matching Set

In 2011 the Duke of Cambridge is believed to have given his wife earrings that match her impressive engagement ring which are also from his mother’s collection. Some of Princess Diana’s favourite items included the sapphire and diamond earrings which were part of The Saudi Sapphire Suite and gifted to her by the Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia for her wedding.

Princess Diana’s earrings had detachable lower sapphires that Kate rarely wore, so in 2020 the Duchess appeared to have had them made into a matching necklace, creating a ring, earring and necklace set to honour her late mother-in-law.

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