11 September 2016

The Sunday Ring: Queen Margrethe's Engagement Ring

Queen Margrethe's engagement ring (Photo: ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Time for a brand-new weekend feature, magpies! Every Sunday, we'll be feasting our eyes on rings owned by royals from around the world. To kick things off, we're starting with one of the most unique royal diamond rings around: Queen Margrethe II of Denmark's engagement ring.

Margrethe wears the ring in France in the summer of 2005 (Photo: GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images)

In 1966, Margrethe accepted a proposal from Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, the French diplomat with whom she had fallen in love while he was working at the French embassy in London and she was studying at the London School of Economics. Henri presented her with an unusual engagement ring: a pair of twinned square-cut diamonds, possibly measuring as much as six carats each, mounted on the diagonal on a yellow gold band.

Margrethe wears the ring in Athens in 2006 (Photo: ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The ring was made by Van Cleef and Arpels. The style of ring is sometimes called a toi et moi ring -- which translates to "you and me" in English. Toi et moi rings feature a pair of stones, and when they're given for an engagement, one stone represents the bride, while the other represents the groom.

Margrethe wears the ring in Berlin in 2014 (Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

The toi et moi style was more popular during the nineteenth century; the trend is supposed to have been inspired by the diamond and sapphire engagement ring that Napoleon Bonaparte gave to Josephine de Beauharnais. (Which, of course, makes the style extremely appropriate for Margrethe, who is a direct descendant of Josephine.)

Margrethe wears the ring in London in 2012 (Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Margrethe began wearing the ring in public in October 1966, when the engagement was officially announced. And fifty years later, she's still wearing it. Even though the ring is large and must be cumbersome to wear at times, it's almost always situated with her wedding ring on her left hand. No wonder -- was there ever a more harmonious match between an innovative engagement ring and a creative wearer?