Shortly after announcing their engagement in November, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle appeared hand-in-hand together in the Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace for the first official appearance. And all eyes were on the dazzling engagement ring adorning 36-year-old Meghan's finger as she proudly posed with her Prince in front of the waiting press. It was the public's first chance to see the ring which Harry chose to present to his bride when he popped the question in London earlier this year. It was clear he had pulled out all the stops to create the perfect engagement band for his stylish and modern fiancée, opting for a simple and elegant arrangement that he had designed himself.
The trilogy ring features a large central diamond, flanked on either side by two smaller jewels set on a gold band. The stones were specially selected by the Prince; the central dimaond is from Botswana, where the couple recently holidayed together, and the other two diamonds are from his late mother Princess Diana's personal collection. The band is made of gold and the ring was made by Cleave and Company, Court Jewellers and Medallists to Her Majesty The Queen.
Harry is not the only royal to design his bride-to-be's engagement ring using jewels that belonged to his mother. The Duke of Edinburgh designed an engagement ring for the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, in 1947, using diamonds from a tiara belonging to his mother, Princess Alice of Greece. And when Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, he gave her Diana's famous sapphire and diamond engagement ring, famously hiding the priceless heirloom in a rucksack so he could pop the question while on holiday in Kenya.
Prince Harry designed Meghan Markle's trilogy engagement ring himself
Speaking about Prince Harry's exquisite design, 77 Diamonds' David Allen told HELLO! Online: "With two round diamonds supporting what appears to be a 2.5ct cushion cut diamond, the stones are set in white gold with the main band of the ring in yellow gold. A ring of this size and quality would start at around £50,000 but with the use of the late Princess Diana's diamonds as side stones, this ring, like Kate's before it, is of inestimable worth. The last Royal engagement that came with a Trilogy engagement ring was the Countess of Wessex in 1999 to Prince Edward which features a round centre stone and heart shape side stones."
The couple showed off the ring in the grounds of Kensington Palace
In their engagement interview, Harry confessed that the ring was a poignant tribute to his late mother, Princess Diana. Of using two diamonds from her personal collection, Harry said he wanted the Princess to be part of his and Meghan's "crazy journey together". The Prince said when his engagement was announced: "It is days like today when I really miss having her around, and miss being able to share the happy news. But, you know, with the ring and with everything else that's going on, I'm sure she's with us, you know, jumping up and down somewhere else." Meghan echoed his thoughts saying: "She's with us."
Meghan has since displayed the sparkler on various occasions
In the weeks leading up to her big day, Meghan has since given royal watchers a closer look at her diamond ring. She has excitedly showed off her sparkler to the crowds in Nottingham, Cardiff, Birmingham, London and Belfast. The former Suits actress is already well-known for her ability to drive fashion retail sales, so it's hardly surprising that replicas of her engagement ring have seen a soar in popularity. Retailer Argos have sold a limited edition of Meghan Sparkle - worth £14.99 - and rings at the company have since jumped 22% compared to last year, as the nation gears up for the nuptials. Clair Albone, jewellery buyer at Argos, described the special ring as "a classic choice at a price that doesn't require a royal budget".
Meghan's wedding band is set to be made from Welsh gold
Meanwhile, Meghan's wedding band is set to be made of rare Welsh gold. Royal brides have historically been given wedding rings made from the golden nuggets of Clogau St David's mine at Bontddu, North Wales – a royal wedding tradition which goes back 88 years. The Duchess of Cambridge's wedding ring - a plain, slim gold band - was made by royal warrant holders Wartski and fashioned from a piece of Welsh gold given to William by his grandmother the Queen as a gift to mark his 2011 wedding. The Queen Mother began the tradition of Welsh gold royal wedding rings after the precious metal was used to make her wedding band when she married in 1923. After that, just one nugget of gold was used to make her wedding ring, the Queen's in 1947, Princess Margaret's in 1960, the Princess Royal's in 1973 and that of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1981.