Happy Platinum (70th) Anniversary to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh! With one of the largest jewellery collections in the world, the Queen is always adorned with valuable and historic jewels. In honour of the very special anniversary of the longest-married royal couple, we are taking a look at the Queen’s most personal jewel- her diamond engagement ring.
In 1903, Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra of Russia gave a large aquamarine and diamond tiara and parure to their niece Princess Alice of Battenberg when she married Prince Andrew of Greece, the fourth son of King George I and Queen Olga. Managing to hold on to her parure through the frequent periods of exile and turmoil experienced by the Greek Royal Family, when her only son, Prince Phillip, was going to propose to Princess Elizabeth in 1947, Princess Alice gave him her Tiara to create some jewels for his soon-to-be fiancé.
Composed of a 3 carat diamond solitaire flanked on each side by 5 smaller diamonds, set in platinum, this ring was created by jeweller Philip Antrobus, with Prince Phillip (then known as Lt. Phillip Mountbatten) heavily involved with the design. Other diamonds from the tiara formed the Queen’s Wedding Gift Bracelet.
When he finally proposed to his Princess in 1947, the ring was a bit too large, but was fixed by the time of the official engagement announcement in July, when the ring made it’s public debut. When the Princess succeeded as Queen in 1952, she gained access to a wide variety of jewels, but her engagement ring has always been given a special place in portraits, alongside more historic pieces. It is also said to be one of the secret signs for her staff: when she starts twisting the ring around her finger, she has had enough.
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The Queen is notable for having a ‘uniform’ of pearls and a brooch, but her engagement ring is the only piece that has never left her finger in the last seven decades. Usually covered up by gloves at public engagements and gala events, the best chance to see the ring is in official portraits, or at the various equestrian events the Queen attends.
I wish the Queen and Duke a very Happy Anniversary and many more to come!