With yesterday’s news that Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has given a candid interview to Vanity Fair, royal reporters appear to be hunkering down for imminent engagement news. While we wait to hear when Harry’s popped the question, let’s have a look at some of the rings worn by British royal brides.
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The Duke of Edinburgh proposed to Britain’s current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1947 with a diamond ring made by Philip Antrobus. He commissioned the ring, which features a round three-carat brilliant stone flanked by smaller pavé-set diamonds set in platinum. The diamonds in the ring are from a tiara given to his mother, Princess Andrew, by Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra of Russia. (Read much more about the ring over here!)
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When the Prince of Wales proposed to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, he offered her a selection of engagement rings to choose from. She picked this diamond and sapphire cluster ring, set in white gold, from Garrard’s existing stock. (More on this very famous ring over here!)
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Sarah Ferguson’s vibrant red hair was on the Duke of York’s mind when he selected this diamond and ruby cluster engagement ring for her in 1986. The ring, which was made by Garrard and features a bright Burmese ruby, is still in Sarah’s collection post-divorce. Sarah wasn’t the only recent Windsor bride to wear a ruby engagement ring; Princess Margaret also received a ruby ring from the Earl of Snowdon. (More about Sarah’s rubies over here!)
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The Princess Royal has been married twice, and both of her engagement rings featured sapphires. Mark Phillips proposed with a Garrard ring featuring a central sapphire flanked by a pair of diamonds in 1973, while Sir Timothy Laurence presented her with a cabochon sapphire with a trio of small diamonds on either side (pictured above) in 1992.
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The Earl of Wessex went for a classic, all-diamond ring when he proposed to Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999. The ring, made by Garrard, features a central two-carat oval diamond hugged by smaller heart-shaped stones. It’s set in 18-carat white gold.
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The Prince of Wales looked to the royal vault for a ring when he proposed to Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005. The Art Deco-style diamond and platinum ring, which features a large central diamond flanked on either side by three diamond baguettes, belonged to the Queen Mother. (Much more over here!)
Autumn Kelly received another classic diamond ring from Princess Anne’s son, Peter Phillips, in 2007. The white gold ring is set with a trio of diamonds, including an oval-shaped central stone.
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Royal watchers gave a collective gasp when Prince William proposed to Catherine Middleton in 2010 using the same diamond and sapphire cluster ring that his father, the Prince of Wales, had given to his mother, Lady Diana Spencer. William noted that using his late mother’s ring was his way of making sure she was included in his engagement and wedding. (Much more on the ring over here!)
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The most recent British royal engagement happened in December 2010, when Mike Tindall proposed to Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Phillips. He presented her with large diamond solitaire set on a double platinum band with pave-set diamonds.