10 February 2021

A Pair of Patriotic Royal Engagement Rings

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Denmark's monarch has a pair of sons, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim. Intriguingly, both of them chose to present their wives with engagement rings inspired by flags. Here's a closer look at the patriotic engagement rings worn by Crown Princess Mary and Princess Marie of Denmark.


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Crown Prince Frederik met his future bride, Mary Donaldson, while he was in Australia attending the Olympics in 2000. They started a long-distance relationship, with Frederik making a few cloak-and-dagger trips to Sydney from Copenhagen before Mary moved to Europe. The Danish public learned of the romance in the autumn of 2001, and two years later, the couple decided to marry.

On September 24, 2003, the Danish court announced that Queen Margrethe II intended to give her consent to the marriage at an upcoming council meeting. After that meeting, on October 8, 2003, Frederik and Mary met with the media in an official press conference.


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The press conference gave the couple a chance to speak with the media about their relationship, and it also offered the world its first glimpse of Mary's new engagement ring. The ring, as it was originally made, featured a central emerald-cut diamond flanked by a pair of ruby baguettes. The colors were chosen specifically by Frederik because they're the colors of Denmark's flag. (A few years earlier, Prince Joachim had also presented a very similar ring, with a large diamond flanked by rubies, to his first wife, Alexandra.) The choice of the ring was a patriotic one, underscoring the importance of Mary's future role as Denmark's crown princess and, eventually, as the nation's queen consort.


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After the royal wedding in May 2004, Crown Princess Mary began stacking the engagement ring with her diamond-set wedding band. Several years later, the ring was given a bit of a makeover. Two more diamonds were added to the ring, one on either side of the existing stones.


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Crown Princess Mary doesn't always wear her engagement ring these days, but when she does, you'll find it on her left hand, stacked together with her wedding band.


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Here's one more look at the current design of the ring.


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Prince Joachim made his first public appearance with his second wife, Marie Cavallier, in the autumn of 2005, several months after his divorce from Princess Alexandra was finalized. Marie, who lived in Switzerland, began socializing with the royal family, meeting Queen Margrethe for the first time over Easter in 2007. Later that year, on October 3, 2007, the couple announced their engagement. 


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Joachim presented Marie with a truly unique royal engagement ring. The gold ring, which has an interesting textured design on either side, is set with a trio of stones: a sapphire, a diamond, and a ruby. The arrangement of the gems is a very literal visual reference to the French flag, a nod from Prince Joachim (who is half French himself) to Marie's French roots. 


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On the couple's wedding day in May 2008, Marie switched the engagement ring to her right hand. You'll spot it just below her bouquet in the photograph above.


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Today, when she wears the ring—and she does wear it quite often—she always wears it on her right hand rather than stacking it with her wedding band on her left. Above, you'll spot it on her right hand in 2012...


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...and here, you'll see it on her right hand in this photo, taken on a family ski trip in 2015. Marie does wear other rings on her right hand as well, rotating her engagement ring with pieces including a ring with her first initial rendered in diamonds.