Hidden Stories Behind the Most Dazzling Royal Engagement Rings in History

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Chris Jackson/Getty Images Kate Middleton wearing her sapphire and diamond engagement ring

When a member of the royal family puts a ring on it, it normally comes with a heavy dose of history and sentiment.

When Prince Philip proposed to Queen Elizabeth back in 1947, he used diamonds from a tiara belonging to his mother Princess Andrew of Greece to make a stunning diamond engagement ring for his bride-to-be. In doing so, he started quite the trend in repurposing heirloom jewels for royal brides.

“It’s wonderful because it gives an old piece of jewelry new life,” jeweler to the royals, Annoushka Ducas, tells PEOPLE. “There’s something so lovely about handing down the memories, the narrative and what that piece of jewelry reminds you of, it’s a complex thing.”

RELATED: Every Time Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton Have Worn Princess Diana’s Jewelry

The Queen In The Green Room At Home In Windsor Castle

The Queen In The Green Room At Home In Windsor Castle

Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle

Fast-forward 70 years and Prince Harry followed suit, this time with a bittersweet nod to his late mother Princess Diana; using two stones from her personal jewelry collection to design Meghan Markle‘s engagement ring. “The little diamonds on either side are from my mother’s jewelry collection to make sure that she’s with us on this crazy journey together,” he said at the time of their engagement in 2017.

Prince Harry and his fiancée US actress Meghan Markle pose for a photograph in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace

Prince Harry and his fiancée US actress Meghan Markle pose for a photograph in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace

DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on the day of their engagement announcement

Of course, the most famous hand-me-down is the sapphire engagement ring first worn by Princess Diana and currently worn by her daughter-in-law Kate Middleton. Featuring

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