The Queen Mother changed her engagement ring from King George VI – details

The couple got engaged in 1923

Nichola Murphy

When the Queen Mother got engaged to King George VI, she was presented with a sapphire engagement ring – but she later chose to change it for a different design entirely.

MORE: The Queen Mother turned down King George VI's marriage proposal three times

Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon reportedly turned down Prince Albert's proposal a whopping three times before agreeing to marry him in January 1923, when he gave his bride-to-be a sapphire ring with diamond accents.

Very few photos share a look at the pretty rock, but sapphire rings continued to be popular among future royal brides. Princess Diana chose a stunning sapphire and diamond design when she got engaged to Prince Charles in 1981, and the ring was later passed on to Kate Middleton when Prince William popped the question in 2010.

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Later in her life, however, the Queen Mother swapped it out for a large pearl surrounded by diamonds. The statement piece was pictured on her ring finger as early as 1946 when she posed for a photo with her daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret at Royal Lodge in Windsor. 

MORE: Why Queen Mother's birthplace is still a mystery to this day

READ: 14 dazzling sapphire engagement rings to say yes to

The couple got married on 26 April 1923 at Westminster Abbey, where Elizabeth became styled as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York.


The Duke and Duchess of York got married in 1923

Elizabeth wore a 1920s style ivory wedding dress, embroidered with pearls and silver thread. She chose not to wear a tiara, opting for a floral headpiece instead, but in her official wedding portraits, she did sport the Strathmore Rose Tiara.

She complimented her original engagement ring with a Welsh gold wedding band, which is traditional among the royal ladies. 

MORE: Kate Middleton's go-to jewellerys just launched a bridal jewellery collection

The Queen Mother is not the only royal who has made changes to her engagement ring. Meghan Markle was presented with a beautiful gold trilogy engagement ring when Prince Harry proposed in November 2017, featuring diamonds from Botswana and from his late mother Princess Diana's personal collection.


The Queen Mother was pictured with her pearl engagement ring in 1946

Just over 18 months later,  Meghan revealed a significant change to the ring, having replaced the yellow gold band with a delicate diamond-studded band.

Kate Middleton, meanwhile, had to have her special ring adjusted because it was a little too big. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge turned to jeweller G. Collins and Sons to resize the ring, and they did this by adding small platinum beads inside the band to reduce its diameter, instead of breaking and resoldering the band itself.

READ: Princess Diana and Prince Charles' wedding broke with 300-year royal tradition

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