The Royals live a life of abundance and luxury, so it’s no surprise that they propose with the most stunning engagement rings available. From Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano of Spain to Queen Elizabeth II of England, check out these amazing engagement rings (and proposal stories!) from the Royals of Europe.
Margrethe II of Denmark
A student at no less than five universities (including Cambridge and the Sorbonne), Margrethe is known as Europe’s most intellectual monarch. She met her future husband, Henri Laborde de Monpezat, at the French Embassy in England while studying at the London School of Economics in 1965.
Although the heir of Denmark reportedly intimidated Henri, the two began a low profile relationship in Britain for the better part of a year. It was such a low profile, in fact, that most Danes were unaware that their princess was seriously dating anyone. Eventually, Henri proposed with a Van Cleef and Arpels engagement ring that featured two large square-cut diamonds in a diagonal set on a gold band, and the two married in June 1967. The Danish Parliament approved their marriage, even though Henri, a descendant of French aristocracy, was technically a commoner.
Grace Kelly of Monaco
Actress Grace Kelly, known for her aristocratic poise and sophistication, joined the ranks of royalty when she married Prince Rainier III at a Roman Catholic ceremony in 1956. Rainier met Grace at a photo shoot at the Palace of Monaco, where he proposed to her after only three days.
He offered her an emerald cut diamond ring with a platinum mount and baguette-cut diamonds on each side of the center stone. Although the engagement signaled the end of Grace’s film career, she went on to star in one last picture, High Society, with Frank Sinatra. She insisted on wearing Rainer’s engagement ring, having promised never to take it off. In the film, she can be seen polishing it as her character, Tracy Samantha Lord, with a silk sheet.
Elizabeth II of England
Her cousin, Margaret Rhodes, described the oldest daughter of King George VI as “fundamentally sensible.” Winston Churchill, who met her as a child, said that Elizabeth had “an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant.” Somewhat defined by her sense of duty and commitment to practicality, Elizabeth served as a driver and mechanic in World War II. However, her engagement to Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in 1947 was uncharacteristically controversial.
Philip was foreign-born with no financial standing, and his sisters had married German nobility. Elizabeth’s mother reportedly called Philip “the Hun.” However, Elizabeth, who said that she fell in love with Philip when she was 13 years old, was not deterred. Philip offered Elizabeth an engagement ring made of a 3-carat diamond solitaire flanked on each side by five smaller diamonds, all set in platinum. The diamonds came from a tiara belonging to Philip’s mother, Princess Andrew of Greece. The two were married in 1947 at Westminster Abbey.
Kate Middleton of England
The newest people’s princess is a fashion icon who met her husband while they were both students at the University of St. Andrews. A descendant of working-class laborers, Kate was selected as one of the “Most Influential People in the World” by Time magazine in 2012. She and Prince William began dating not long after he saw her strut the catwalk at a charity fashion show, and the two thereby embarked upon a seven-year on-again-off-again relationship.
William proposed to Kate in 2010 in Kenya, where the two were vacationing at a wildlife conservatory. He offered her the engagement ring that his father had first given to Diana, Princess of Wales almost twenty years earlier. The ring holds 14 solitaire diamonds around a 12-carat blue Ceylon sapphire set in white gold. It was originally called the “Commoner’s Sapphire,” after Diana’s—and now Kate’s—non-royal origins. William and Kate married at a highly televised ceremony at Westminster Abbey in April 2011.
Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano of Spain
Before she married Prince Felipe, Letizia was an award-winning broadcast journalist with a master’s degree in journalism. The granddaughter of a taxi driver, she came from a regular middle-class family. Letizia met Felipe on assignment in 2002, and the two became engaged in 2003.
Felipe proposed with a 16-baguette diamond ring with a white gold trim, and Letizia returned the gesture by giving him white gold and sapphire cufflinks to commemorate the occasion. However, the engagement raised concerns about Letizia’s divorce five years earlier. Luckily, since Letizia’s previous marriage involved only a civil ceremony, the Catholic Church did not consider it canonically valid and thereby did not require an annulment. Letizia and Felipe were happily married in the Cathedral Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena in Madrid in May 2004.
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