The royal family knows a thing or two about jewelry — especially over-the-top engagement rings. Meghan Markle, Duchess Kate (née Middleton), Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Beatrice and more sport large diamonds and other colorful gems on their fingers that were gifted to them by the special men in their life. But, who has the biggest rock? The answer may surprise you! From blue sapphires to classic diamonds, each royal’s ring is a perfect reflection of their personality.
Another reason jewelry is so important in the royal family is that it’s a way for a legacy to live on. Both Duchess Kate and Meghan’s engagement rings are an ode to their husbands’ late mother. However, that’s not the only way to honor her legacy. In author Andrew Morton’s book, Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, the writer claimed that the former actress “was intrigued by [Princess] Diana not just for her style but also for her independent humanitarian mission.”
Harry clearly knows Meghan very well and actually chose a “conflict-free diamond” for his bride in Africa six months before their engagement was announced.
“Unbeknownst to most, [Harry] already had an engagement ring in the works,” authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand wrote in Finding Freedom. “That May, Harry traveled alone to Botswana in his role as patron of Rhino Conversation Botswana. While in Africa, he did a little secret diamond scouting with a close friend who helped him to source the perfect conflict-free stone.”
Interestingly enough, the iconic blue sapphire ring that sits on Kate’s finger was actually first given to Prince Harry following his mother’s death, according to her former butler Paul Burrell.
“[Harry said], ‘I remember when I held mummy’s hand when I was a small boy and that ring always hurt me because it was so big,’” Paul recalled in the Amazon documentary The Diana Story. “So I went to the safe and gave Harry Diana’s engagement ring.”
Years later, Harry opted to give the precious sparkler to his brother, William, for Kate. “Harry said to him: ‘Wouldn’t it be fitting if she had mummy’s ring? Then one day that ring will be sat on the throne of England,’” the butler claimed.
After popping the question in 2010, William reflected on the special meaning behind giving Kate his mother’s ring. “Obviously, she’s not going be around to share in all the fun and excitement, so this is my way of keeping her close to it all,” he said of Diana at the time.
It’s easy to get caught up in the royals‘ humanitarian work, stunning fashion choice or even a little family drama — but don’t sleep on their dazzling engagement rings.
Keep scrolling to see the best and brightest!