In 1981, shortly after her engagement to Prince Charles, the Princess of Wales chose the sapphire ring herself from Garrard, the Crown Jeweller at the time. However, her choice, which is the most expensive British royal engagement ring to date, was widely criticised as some royal critics did not deem the piece “fitting for a royal bride”.
Writing in the Telegraph, Sarah Royce-Greensill explained why the £110,000 jewel was frowned upon.
She wrote: “When Prince Charles and Diana announced their engagement, the gathered press admired its size and the fact that the blue stone complemented her eyes.
“But then came reports that the ring wasn’t a special one-off commission but, shock horror, was selected from shop stock – meaning that anyone could walk into Garrard and buy the same ring as the future Queen of England.
“Never mind that the ring reportedly cost £28,500 (approximately £110,000 in today’s money) – its non-unique nature was seen in some camps as not fitting for a royal bride.”
Tobias Kormind, Managing Director of Europe’s largest online diamond jeweller, 77 Diamonds, echoed the remarks, branding the choice as “unusual”.
He said: “Her [Diana’s] decision was unusual among royal circles in the sense that it wasn’t a bespoke commission created especially for her.”
But Prince Harry and Prince William valued the family heirloom, with the latter giving it to his now-wife as her engagement ring.
Mr Kormind added: “When Diana passed away, Harry and William chose mementos from their mother and Harry chose this engagement ring and William chose a Cartier watch, which his mother had used to teach him to read the time, and which she had received from her own father for her 21st birthday.”