Monday, 27 November 2017

Royal Engagement: the Windsor engagement rings


Just hours to go now until we see the sparkler that put the seal on the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The Prince of Wales announced their betrothal earlier on today and the couple will do the now traditional photo call at 2pm on November 27th 2017 to show off the sparkler. Ahead of that, here's a look back at the engagement rings of the House of Windsor, a very sparkly story that's about to get a whole new chapter....



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The Queen's engagement ring was a sparkling diamond with a very sentimental history showing that beneath it all Prince Philip is a right softie. The ring was made from stones taken from a tiara belonging to his mother, Princess Alice. Not only did it give a link to his family, it also meant that the prince could produce a ring fit for a queen in waiting. The jewel was crafted by Philip Antrobus with design input from Philip himself. It's a gold and platinum ring with a large diamond surrounded by smaller gems on either side. A real classic and perhaps about to get an echo with Meghan's ring which is reportedly made from diamonds belonging to Diana, Princess of Wales.



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Princess Margaret received a ruby and diamond engagement ring from Antony Armstrong-Jones when they announced their plans to wed. It was shaped to look like a rosebud in honour of her middle name, Rose. You can just about see it in the official photos where Mags is holding on to a rose just to underline the point - she did love a bit of drama.



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When Princess Anne got engaged to her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, in 1973 it was the turn of sapphires to take a starring role. It's a rather striking design and set the tone for future Windsor engagement rings with a single sapphire supported by diamonds. And it came from Garrards, natch.




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It would soon be eclipsed by perhaps the most famous sapphire in modern royal history. When Anne's brother, the Prince of Wales, announced his engagement to Lady Diana Spencer, the bride to be showed off what was soon to become the most famous ring around. The oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds was copied just about everywhere and remains about as iconic a royal engagement ring as can be. The decision of Prince William to present it to his fiancee, Kate Middleton, in 2010 only cemented its celebrity.


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The design chosen by Prince Andrew for his fiancee, Sarah Ferguson, in 1986 was very similar. Fergie chose a bright ruby to match her red hair with a complete diamond surround. It's smaller and slightly spikier than Diana's ring and never became as famous but it has a place in Windsor history all the same.



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By the time Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones announced their engagement in 1999, the Royal Family had experienced some of its toughest times and this wedding was all about low key. The announcement was discreet but there was nothing simple about the ring which features a huge central stone flanked by a heart shaped diamond on either side. 



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The engagement of Prince Charles to Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005 was sealed with a family heirloom that once belonged to his beloved grandmother, the Queen Mother. The art deco diamonds are so big you couldn't miss them if you blinked and the ring is believed to have been given to the Queen Mother in 1926 to celebrate the birth of her first daughter, the Queen.


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The first of the Queen's grandchildren to announce their engagement was Peter Phillips who presented his fiancee, Autumn Kelly, with a diamond and white gold ring featuring an oval centre stone and two square sparklers on either side.


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Zara Phillips received a platinum and diamond engagement ring from Mike Tindall, designed by the groom himself (these chaps do like a bit of an input). This sparkler features a central diamond flanked by pave stones and is perhaps the most modern of the lot. For now. We see Meghan's engagement ring in just a few hours' time...more on the blog later, but in the meantime, which is your favourite Windsor engagment ring?

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