The Sweet Reason Prince Harry Gave Princess Diana’s Ring to Prince William for His Engagement to Kate Middleton
In November 2010, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge announced their engagement, with Kate showing off her stunning sapphire ring in a photocall and interview. The ring had belonged to Prince Harry, but he gave it to his brother for his proposal to Kate.
Prince Harry gave Princess Diana’s ring to Prince William
Prince Harry had inherited Princess Diana’s sapphire ring after her death and, rather than saving it to propose to his future wife, he gave it to Prince William for his proposal.
In the documentary The Diana Story, Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell told the story of how Prince Harry was allowed to pick his favorite jewelry that belonged to his mother after she tragically passed away. He chose the diamond and sapphire ring while William selected a gold watch.
Burell recalled how Harry wanted William to give the ring to Kate. “Harry said to him, ‘Wouldn’t it be fitting if she had mummy’s ring?,’” he recalled.
He continued, “Then one day that ring will be sat on the throne of England. Harry gave up his precious treasure. His one thing he kept from his mother, he gave to his brother. That’s selfless, kind and exactly who Diana was.”
The ring’s significance was revealed during their engagement interview
During their engagement interview, Prince William recalled how he proposed to Kate during their trip to Kenya.
“We had a little private time away together with some friends and I just decided that it was the right time, really,” Prince William explained. “We had been talking about marriage for a while so it wasn’t a massively big surprise. I took her up somewhere nice in Kenya and I proposed.”
He remarked that he had been carrying the sapphire ring in his “rucksack for about three weeks” waiting to find the right time to propose to Kate.
“Everywhere I went I was keeping hold of it because I knew this thing, if it disappeared I would be in a lot of trouble,” he said. “You hear a lot of horror stories about proposing and things going horribly wrong, but it went really, really well and I was really pleased she said yes.”
Prince William continued, “It’s my mother’s engagement ring so I thought it was quite nice because obviously, she’s not going to be around to share any of the fun and excitement of it all — this was my way of keeping her close to it all.”
“It was my way of making sure mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement and the fact that we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together,” William explained.
Meghan Markle’s engagement ring has a Diana connection, too
Even though Prince Harry didn’t use the sapphire ring for his own future wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s engagement ring includes a lovely Diana connection.
Her ring was designed by Prince Harry, with a stone from Botswana but also has diamonds from Diana’s collection.
During an interview after they got engaged, Meghan said the ring’s symbolism provided an opportunity for Diana to be “with us on this crazy journey together.”
“Everything about Harry’s thoughtfulness and the inclusion of [Princess Diana’s stones] and obviously not being able to meet his mom,” she said. “It’s so important to me to know that she’s a part of this with us.”