When Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton in November 2010, the Prince of Wales popped the question with the same engagement ring that his mother, Princess Diana, owned. The sparkler, a 12-carat oval Ceylon blue sapphire framed by 14 diamonds, has become one of the most recognizable and sought-after pieces of jewelry, thanks to both royals. During a visit to Wales in April 2023, the princess revealed that the gemstone fit her perfectly when she first slipped on the band, so she never had to get it resized. When someone in the crowd asked about the ring, Kate responded, “Same ring and exactly the same size.” The royal also added that she was “honored” to follow in Princess Di’s footsteps by donning the gem and said she believed Diana would have been a “brilliant” grandmother. “We miss her every day,” Kate said.
After William got down on one knee in 2010, he revealed the reason why he used his mother’s rock to ask for Kate’s hand in marriage. “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 in any of the fun and excitement of all this,” Prince William shared with ITV News. “This is my way of keeping her sort of close to it all.” Proposing with heirloom stones has been a royal tradition for decades. However, King Charles commissioned the crown jeweler Garrard to create the glittering jewel instead of choosing another one from the family’s collection.
According to Vogue, Charles drew inspiration from a brooch made of sapphires and diamonds that Prince Albert had Garrard create for his wife Queen Victoria in 1840. "She found she loved it so much that she decided to wear it on her wedding day as her 'something blue' on the front of her dress," Sara Prentice, Garrard's creative director, told the publication. Throughout her life, Victoria repeatedly wore the gift, and even Queen Elizabeth II sported the item on several occasions. “I would imagine growing up being surrounded by your mother and your grandmother [with] such beautiful, incredible jewelry, it would stick with you,” Prentice said. Prince William eventually inherited the brooch and engagement ring.
Kate has also worn other several pieces from Diana’s personal collection. Kate has accessorized with the Princess of Wales Feather Brooch, which has been a part of the royal family ever since Princess Alexandra of Denmark received it as a wedding gift in 1863. When Lady Di tied the knot with Charles in 1981, the Queen Mother gave it to the royal bride as a present for her nuptials.
Several months after celebrating their engagement, Kate and William said “I do” on April 29, 2011, at Westminster Abbey. The duo recently celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary on that same day in 2023. To mark the milestone year, they posted a tribute to their marriage on the prince and princess of Wales’ official Instagram account. “12 years ❤️,” the caption says. The couple included a photo, shot by award-winning royal family photographer Matt Porteous, of the two of them riding bikes in the Norfolk countryside in 2022. According to People, the image is part of a series that the photographer captured for the British royals. He also documented moments during U.K.’s Mother’s Day and Christmas 2022.