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The Duchess of Edinburgh in a white suit with her hand up© Mark Cuthbert

Duchess Sophie 'stunned' by £105k engagement ring with bittersweet Princess Diana connection

The Duchess of Edinburgh said she was "stunned" by Prince Edward's proposal in 1999

Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
June 18, 2024
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Royal engagement rings are all beautifully unique, but there is one special connection between Duchess Sophie, Sarah Ferguson, the late Princess Diana and Princess Kate's rocks.

Prince Edward announced his engagement to former PR executive Sophie Rhys-Jones in January 1999, 18 years after King Charles proposed to Lady Diana, and 13 years after Prince Andrew popped the question to Fergie.

Edward and Sophie at engagement photocall© Getty
Edward described Sophie's ring as "dazzling"

While both of their marriages had ended in divorce by the time Edward proposed, it did not stop him from following their lead and turning to British royal jeweller Garrard for his diamond ring. 

Garrard was appointed Crown Jeweller by Queen Victoria in 1843. Its website states: "From Queen Mary’s consort crown to Princess Diana’s engagement ring, royal tiaras and Crown Jewels, our creations have become part of history itself."

Design-wise, Sophie's ring was nothing like her sisters-in-law Diana's - a sapphire stock item that reportedly reminded her of her mother's engagement ring and matched her eyes. The ring, which is estimated to be worth £390k today, now belongs to Prince William's wife the Princess of Wales.

Princess Diana wearing her sapphire engagement ring© Anwar Hussein
Princess Diana, who was married to King Charles from 1981 to 1996 also chose an engagement ring from Garrard

However, Sophie's ring does bear several similarities to Her Majesty's special rock from Prince Philip and, more recently, the Duchess of Sussex's sentimental trilogy ring from Prince Harry.

Sophie's engagement

The Duchess of Edinburgh shows off her trilogy engagement ring© Getty
The Duchess of Edinburgh was given a trilogy engagement ring from Garrard

The ring features a two-carat central oval diamond flanked by two smaller, heart-shaped diamonds, and Edward joked at their engagement photocall: "Have you got your dark glasses on? If it catches the sun, you'll be blinded."

The Duchess wears the ring, which is reported to be worth an estimated £105,000 ($149,000), alongside her Welsh gold wedding band.

"It's impossible for anyone else to understand why this has taken me so long [to propose], but I don't think it would have been right before and I don't think Sophie would have said yes before," he told reporters. "Hopefully by the fact she did say yes I must have got the timing right."

While he remained tight-lipped about the setting, he said: "I managed to take her completely by surprise, she had no idea it was coming," and Sophie continued: "I was slightly stunned for a minute, and then I realised I should probably answer the question so then I said, 'Yes, yes please.'"

Sophie and Edward's royal wedding

Sophie and Edward exchanged vows in June 1999 at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, the same wedding venue chosen by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018. 

A whopping 200 million viewers tuned in to watch Prince Edward's royal wedding, which saw Sophie walk down the aisle in a beautiful Samantha Shaw bridal gown and a breathtaking tiara borrowed from the late Queen Elizabeth II's private collection.

Lady Louise Windsor in carriage in a floral dress © Getty
The couple share two kids, James, Earl of Wessex and Lady Louise Windsor

The couple have since become parents to two wonderful children: James, Earl of Wessex, born in 2007, and Lady Louise Windsor, born in 2003.

The family live together at Bagshot Park in Surrey, which was a wedding present from the late Queen over 20 years ago. Located just 11 miles away from Windsor Castle, the Grade-II listed building is set within 51 acres of land, and has 120 rooms, offering the family plenty of space inside and out. 

READ: Watch: Princess Charlene's concern over five-metre wedding dress caught on camera

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