Jewellery Guides • Life & Style

The Most Iconic Royal Engagement Rings

Written by Sarah-Jane Santos
May 11th, 2022 • 7 min read

From how Meghan Markle updated her engagement ring, to why Kate Middleton’s ring once caused a Royal stir, and the subtle beauty of Zara Tindall’s lesser-known ring. Our experts delve into the best Royal engagement rings.

The Royals have greater influence over the kinds of engagement rings we buy than you might expect. Following their engagement ring, Prince Harry's engagement ring for Meghan Markle saw trilogy rings and yellow gold popularity soar; sapphires boomed when Prince William re-gifted Diana's ring to Kate Middleton. Wallis Simpson even paved the way for secret, personal engagement ring engravings. We take a deeper dive into the histories and prices of Royal engagement rings, and what makes each so special.

Meghan Markle's engagement ring

Meghan Markle’s engagement ring was one of the most hotly-anticipated, widely celebrated pieces of jewellery to emerge in recent years, when Harry proposed in 2017. The three stone diamond ring is a triumph in classic yet contemporary design, featuring a large, elongated cushion cut diamond, estimated to be between 3 and 4 carats, flanked by two round brilliant cuts. Meghan Markle’s engagement ring is estimated to have cost somewhere between £200,000 and £270,000.

We’ve got Prince Harry to thank for what is potentially the coolest royal engagement ring - Harry took the helm, designing the bespoke engagement ring himself, the simplicity of the setting complementing Meghan’s paired-down, minimalist style perfectly. Harry opted for yellow gold for Meghan’s ring, which is the perfect, warm tone for her complexion and contemporary taste. Little-known is the symbolic romance of trilogy engagement rings - the three stones represent the past, present and future of the wearer’s relationship. Who knew Prince Harry was such a romantic?

Princess Eugenie's engagement ring

In January 2018 we first got a glimpse of Princess Eugenie’s engagement ring, with her official engagement portraits taken at Buckingham Palace alongside partner of 8 years, Jack Brooksbank. A leap from the typical choice of diamond or blue sapphire, the couple chose a striking coral pink Padparadscha sapphire to complement Princess Eugenie’s English Rose complexion.

Padparadscha sapphires are rare, heralding only from Sri Lanka, and named in reference to the Sinhalese aquatic lotus blossom which has a similar orange-pink colour. Padparadscha sapphires are amongst the rarest and most valuable gems on Earth. The size of Princess Eugenie’s halo engagement ring is somewhere between 3 and 4 carats, and given the rarity of the sapphire, is estimated to cost around £100,000.

Despite the classic design, the couple’s approach to finding the perfect engagement ring was relatively modern - Jack proposed without a ring, with the idea that they would design it together. This super romantic gesture is becoming a more and more popular choice, with some proposing with a diamond or centre stone they have selected, then returning to create the ring design together.

Grace Kelly's engagement ring

Reading like a plot from a film, actress Grace Kelly’s journey to royalty was every bit as glamorous as you’d expect. A chance meeting during Cannes film festival in 1955 led to Monaco’s Prince Rainier III visiting Grace on a whistle-stop tour of America, during which he proposed after three days. Rainier chose a ruby and diamond eternity ring to propose with, soon later replaced by an iconic Cartier engagement ring.

The exquisite emerald cut engagement ring weighed in at 10.47ct, plus a baguette cut diamond either side of the showstopping centre stone - making a beautiful three stone ring. Reports suggested the ring cost a cool $4.06million!

The style of Grace Kelly’s engagement ring has never gone out of fashion - the trilogy ring, set with rectangular diamonds, has refined, Art Deco flare.

Jacki Kennedy's engagement ring

Ok, so not technically royalty, but figurative “American royalty” - how could we not mention Jackie Kennedy’s engagement ring? In true regal style, the vintage Art Deco engagement ring is over the top, ostentatious and oh-so-sparkly.

Jackie Kennedy’s engagement ring features a 2.88ct emerald cut diamond alongside a similarly sized green emerald in a classic ‘toi et moi’ ring style. Ten years after the proposal, round and marquise diamonds were added to form leaf-like appendages to wrap around the original stones. It could be suggested that Jackie’s custom engagement ring influenced Megan Fox’s, which similarly features a colourless diamond and green emerald in toi et moi style, with a wrap around of a ‘thorn’ band.

Following the assassination of husband John F. Kennedy, Jackie was remarried to Aristotle Onassis, receiving a jaw-dropping 40 carat marquise cut diamond engagement ring, worn only twice before being stored in a New York City vault. The ring was sold for just under £2.6million!

Zara Tindall's engagement ring

Unlike most Royal jewels, Zara Tindall’s engagement ring is relatively down to earth, simply featuring a round brilliant diamond between 1.50ct to 2ct set with a split pavé diamond band.

We can probably all relate to Zara’s method of ensuring she bagged a ring she liked, explaining she had hinted what she might like in the run up to the proposal (that’s standard.. right?). Zara’s beautiful diamond engagement ring features a split shank and diamond set band, adding a hint of detail to an otherwise minimalist and modern design.

Kate Middleton's engagement ring

Perhaps the most famed engagement ring of our generation, Kate Middleton’s engagement ring is striking and iconic: a 12ct Royal Blue oval sapphire, set in a beautiful cluster diamond halo style.

Kate Middleton’s 12ct sapphire engagement ring was originally purchased by Prince Charles for Diana in 1981, costing him £47,000. The value of Kate Middleton’s engagement ring is now believed to be £1m due to its history and public adoration. Recreating The Duchess of Cambridge’s ring with a similar size and quality sapphire would set you back around £500,000 - but prices would start around £2,000 if you were to choose the style with a 0.30ct sapphire centre.

Originally belonging to Princess Diana, the ring caused a stir when Charles purchased it in the early 1980s - because it was picked from a catalogue. Traditionally, Royal engagement rings would be custom designed as one-off pieces, and the Queen was reportedly unhappy that ‘anyone’ could order the exact same ring from a catalogue. The irony is, the style has become so iconic across the world that thousands of couples opt for a similar sapphire halo ring every year.

Wallis Simpson's engagement ring

The love affair of Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII was rebellious, yet deeply romantic, the unique engagement ring a design to suit. Wallis Simpson’s engagement ring featured a green emerald just under 20cts, a gemstone not always recommended for engagement rings due to its softness when compared to sapphires, rubies and diamonds. But this couple didn’t play by the rules.

The platinum piece was engraved ‘we are now ours 27X36’, the numerical value representing both the date Edward proposed and the beginning of Wallis’s divorce proceedings from her prior marriage. To mark their 20th wedding anniversary, the emerald engagement ring was remounted in a more decorative fashion, with an unusual diamond halo and yellow gold metalwork.

Create Your Unique Engagement Ring

Feeling inspired? If you’ve got an idea of the engagement ring you’d like to craft, or would like some advise, get in touch with our experts today.

Book an appointment to meet with our experts in-store or online. Our Hatton Garden jewellers is open Monday to Saturday and is located just a few minutes walk from Farringdon Station and Chancery Lane tube station.


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