Prince Charles Gave Princess Diana a Catalog Engagement Ring But Camilla Parker Bowles Got a Family Heirloom

With the benefit of hindsight, most of us realize that Prince Charles never loved Princess Diana, but he’s always loved Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. The proof of that comes from the events that transpired in the 90s when the Prince of Wales cheated on Diana and their marriage exploded in a very public way. But we have even more evidence beyond that.

One red flag that Diana might have noticed is the origin of her engagement ring. Unlike the ring Charles bought for Camilla, hers was off the rack. Camilla’s ring was a family heirloom that belongs to one of Charles’s favorite relatives.

Those realities are major metaphors for Charles’s feelings toward both of his brides.

The Prince and Princess of Wales
The Prince and Princess of Wales | Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

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Prince Charles barely knew Princess Diana when they got married

Charles and Camilla experienced instant attraction to each other when they first met in 1971. The royal family didn’t mind the pair dating each other, but when it came to choosing a bride, they had strict standards for Prince Charles. Camilla did not fit the mold for what they wanted for the future queen.

But Princess Diana seemed perfect. The future king allowed himself to be persuaded to propose to the young, beautiful woman who he barely knew. Apparently, Charles and Diana only went on 12 dates before announcing their engagement and beginning to plan their wedding.

Princess Diana’s engagement ring was very controversial

Princess Diana
Princess Diana | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Money was no object when it came to Charles selecting an engagement ring for Diana. That’s what made it so surprising that the Prince of Wales selected a generic ring out of a catalog rather than custom designing one himself. Or, rather than choosing a royal family heirloom that would have had meaning.

The 12-carat sapphire ring set in 18-carat white gold with 14 solitaire diamonds is certainly beautiful. But the nature of its origin raised a few eyebrows. Royal experts called it “a commoner’s ring” because anyone could pick the same one out of the Garrard catalog.

Prince Charles chose an heirloom engagement ring for Camilla

Camilla Parker Bowles
Camilla Parker Bowles | Anwar Hussein/WireImage

The Prince of Wales waited many years to take his relationship with Camilla public and waited even longer to marry her. But when he did finally propose, the engagement ring he chose was especially symbolic.

The platinum Art Deco design has a five-carat, emerald-cut diamond in the center with additional sparkling baguettes on the sides. But the most revealing aspect of the ring is its origin. The stunner originally belonged to Prince Charles’s grandmother, the Queen Mother, Town & Country reported.

This fact is made even more romantic considering how close Charles was with the Queen Mother. While his relationship with his mother Queen Elizabeth was strained, he frequently sought affection and love from his grandmother in her place.

“For me, she meant everything,” Charles said during her funeral address in 2002.

Prince Charles and Camilla are much better suited to each other

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Even without the engagement ring evidence, royal fans know that Prince Charles was infinitely more suited to Camilla than he was to Diana based on how their marriages turned out. While Charles and Diana almost never got along, even without the affair drama, Charles and Camilla have an easy, happy relationship that shows in their public interactions.

The fact that the Duchess of Cornwall is wearing Prince Charles’s beloved grandmother’s ring is just icing on the proverbial wedding cake.