Princess Diana’s engagement ring was a blue 12-carat sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds, that is now worn by the Duchess of Cambridge. However, the Duchess of Cornwall’s ring also has a sentimental value, as it is believed to have belonged to the Queen Mother, whom Charles was reportedly very close to. When Clarence House first announced Prince Charles and Camilla’s engagement in February of 2005, they only confirmed the ring was a Royal Family heirloom.
But the piece is widely believed by royal commentators to have come from the Queen Mother’s collection.
The platinum design features a five-carat emerald-cut diamond at its centre, and the Queen Mother was seen wearing the design in the 1980s.
It is unclear who owned the ring before the Queen Mother, or where it was made.
The family heirloom is likely worth more than the ring Prince Harry proposed with to Meghan Markle, and Prince William the same with Kate Middleton.
According to Kathryn Money, VP of strategy and merchandising for Brilliant Earth, it would have cost roughly £78,000, although the heirloom’s extensive family heritage goes so far back that it is probably even more valuable than recent royal engagement rings.
Princess Diana’s ring, on the other hand, cost just £28,500 at the time of purchase, although its value has soared since it now belongs to the Duchess of Cambridge.
Charlotte White, head of design at Europe’s largest online diamond jeweller 77 Diamonds, spoke to Express.co.uk about Camilla’s engagement ring, and its sentimental value.
Charlotte said: “When Prince Charles got down on one knee and asked Camilla to marry him in 2005, he did so with a clean, contemporary, magnificent diamond engagement ring.
“More reminiscent of the geometric bold lines favoured by today’s young fashionistas, in contrast to, for example, the classic and opulent oval and diamond halo of Princess Diana’s sapphire ring, it was passed down to him from the Queen Mother, who was first pictured wearing it in the 1980s.
“Although the royal household has never divulged its date of creation or why it was commissioned, they have called it a family heirloom, implying a certain depth of history.
“Some speculate that the ring was in fact made to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s birth in 1926.
“The ring itself is an art-deco piece and features five carats of emerald-cut diamonds.
“Emerald cut diamonds are a rectangular shape with cropped corners and also have a step cut, which comprise facets arranged as parallel lines on all four sides, creating what diamond industry insiders call a hall of mirrors effect as the light ripples over the glittering stone.”
The royal couple announced their plans to marry in February 2005.
Prince Charles spoke about his engagement in glowing terms: “Mrs Parker Bowles and I are absolutely delighted.
“It will be a very special day for us and our families.”
Prince Charles’ parents, too, were supportive of the couple’s decision.
“The Duke of Edinburgh and I are very happy that the Prince of Wales and Mrs Parker Bowles are to marry,” the Queen said in a statement from Buckingham Palace.
Princes William and Harry were said to be “delighted” for their dad.
Prince Charles and Camilla married in a civil ceremony in 2005. The ceremony, which took place at the Windsor Guildhall, was then followed by a wedding blessing at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall exchanged wedding bands made of pure Welsh gold, in true royal tradition.