Queen Elizabeth’s Engagement Ring From Prince Philip Has an Incredible — Yet Frugal — Story

Queen Elizabeth sat on the throne for 70 years, making her the longest-reigning monarch in UK history. But incredibly, her marriage to Prince Philip lasted even longer. In November 1947, the then-Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten and their marriage lasted nearly 74 years — up until the Duke of Edinburgh died in April 2021. 

What fans might not know is that their royal engagement actually began all of those years ago with a ring from Prince Philip that has an incredibly romantic — yet frugal — story. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh re-visit Broadlands, to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on November 20, 2007
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 2007 | Tim Graham/Getty Images

King George VI delayed Queen Elizabeth’s engagement announcement

Queen Elizabeth met Prince Philip during a royal tour in 1939 when she was just 13 years old. The pair proceeded to exchange letters over a number of years, and eventually became a couple. 

In 1946, Philip asked King George VI for his daughter’s hand in marriage, which the monarch ultimately granted under one condition. The king required that Elizabeth and Philip’s formal engagement announcement be delayed until the following April when the princess turned 21. 

Their formal engagement announcement was made on July 10, 1947, and they married just four months later.

Queen Elizabeth’s engagement ring has a romantic, yet frugal, story

When Prince Philip proposed to Queen Elizabeth, he gave her a ring with a 3-carat Old European cut design — featuring one circular diamond in the center and 10 smaller stones on the sides. When it comes to royal jewelry, though, this ring was quite modest.

Finances were tight for royalty after World War II. So when Philip wanted to propose, his mother — Princess Alice of Battenberg — gifted him the diamonds that came from one of her precious tiaras. Philip took those stones to London jeweler Philip Antrobus Ltd, and he helped design Elizabeth’s custom art deco engagement ring.

Queen Elizabeth gives fans a glimpse of her engagement ring from Prince Philip as she attends 2007 Windsor Horse Show
Queen Elizabeth (2007) | Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images

“Using diamonds from his mother’s tiara may have been a way to save money, as well being as a sentimental gesture, as whilst Prince Philip was born a Greek prince, it seems his family were not extremely wealthy,”  leading diamond expert Maxwell Stone explains.

“The Queen’s ring is made from a nugget of Welsh gold from the Clogau St David’s mine, near Dolgellau. The same nugget has been used to make Princess Anne, Princess Diana, and Kate Middleton’s rings.”

If the engagement ring was created today,  Stone says it would cost around £200,000 ($240,000).

Prince Philip gave Queen Elizabeth a bracelet as a wedding gift

The engagement ring didn’t require all of the diamonds from the tiara. So, Philip used the excess diamonds to make a one-of-a-kind bracelet — which he gave to Elizabeth as a gift on their wedding day. Her Majesty would go on to wear the special bracelet for numerous royal events and portraits.

After Prince Philip died, the royal family reflected on his wedding gift to his wife in a social media post. They wrote, “HRH designed a bracelet as his wedding present to The Queen with stones from his mother’s tiara and was also responsible for overseeing the construction and design of the Royal Yacht Britannia.”

In recent years, Kate Middleton — the new Princess of Wales — has been photographed wearing the bracelet. Because the queen’s will is sealed, it is not known which royal family member inherited the piece.

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