Thursday, November 18, 2010

Royal Focus: Kate Middleton's Royal Engagement Ring

The fiancee of Britain's Prince William, Kate Middleton, poses for a photograph in St. James's Palace, in central London November 16, 2010. Britain's Prince William is to marry his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton next year, after an on-off courtship lasting nearly a decade, bringing months of speculation about his intentions to an end.  REUTERS/Paul Hackett (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS) When Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement to the world on November 16th, they revealed the much speculated engagement ring. This ring, once belonging to Diana, Princess of Wales, caused some controversy, one of the few times in royal history that a piece of jewellery has done so.

I have written about this ring before in my post called Royal Engagement Rings. The ring, an oval 18-carat, sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds, is interestingly enough, it was not unique. Featured in the catalogues of Garrards Jewellers, the royal family's official jeweller, it cost $65,000 at the time. Choosing a sapphire for a royal engagement ring is not unusual, The Princess Royal's and the late Queen Mother's original engagement ring were both sapphires.  Regarding the ring, Diana herself recalled: 'A briefcase comes along on the pretext that Andrew is getting a signet ring for his 21st birthday and along comes these sapphires - I mean 'nuggets! - I suppose I chose it, we all chipped in. The Queen paid for it.'

24th February 1981:  Charles, Prince of Wales laughing with his fiancee Lady Diana Spencer (1961 - 1997) outside Buckingham Palace, London after announcing their engagement.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) The choice has provoked discussion amongst royal watchers as to whether it is appropriate for Kate to wear the ring.  Some feel that just because Diana wore the ring, it should not be seen as a bad omen or curse. Others feel that the couple should have made a fresh start. The ring, beautiful though it is, is so strongly associated with Diana, that for the rest of Kate's life she will have the constant reminder of Diana whether she likes it or not. Comparisons are inevitable, the ring more than guarantees that.

When asked why he had chosen to give his fiancee his mother's ring, William replied: 'it was my way of making sure that my mother didn’t miss out on today, all the excitement and the fact that we are going to be spending the rest of our lives together.' Thus making the choice a moot point for the rest of us.

© Marilyn Braun 2010

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