Inside Sophie Wessex’s ‘struggles’ with £105k two-carat oval diamond engagement ring that has a bittersweet Diana link

PRINCE Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh are celebrating a very special milestone today – their 25th wedding anniversary.

King Charles III’s youngest brother popped the question before their 1999 wedding with a £105,000 two-carat oval diamond engagement ring, which will come with “struggles.”

Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary


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Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversaryCredit: Tim Graham – Getty

The Duke of Edinburgh popped the question with a £105,000 two-carat oval diamond engagement ring from Garrard
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The Duke of Edinburgh popped the question with a £105,000 two-carat oval diamond engagement ring from GarrardCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

Princess Diana's ring - which now belongs to Kate Middleton - also came from Garrard
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Princess Diana’s ring – which now belongs to Kate Middleton – also came from GarrardCredit: Tim Graham – Getty

Prince Edward enlisted the help of British royal jeweller Garrard when it came to Sophie’s breathtaking sparkler.

He popped the question after dating the PR executive for five years while they were on holiday in the Bahamas.

And it turns out the ring has a poignant tie to Princess Diana.

Her iconic sapphire engagement ring, which was surrounded by 14 round diamonds and set in white gold, was also from Garrard – and famously was used by Prince William when he proposed to Kate Middleton.

Caring for a royal ring can be tricky according to Ben Roberts, Managing Director of Clogau – the brand responsible for the Welsh gold that the royals have used to create their wedding rings since 1923 (when Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who became The Queen Mother, married the Duke of York, later King George VI).

 

Speaking about Diana’s 12-carat sapphire engagement ring, he told Hello! magazine: “Even without any alterations, caring for an heirloom of such value comes with its own challenges.

“Kate and her team will need to employ careful maintenance, with regular inspections and in-depth evaluations, gentle cleaning to restore sheen, and, if necessary, expert repairs to ensure its longevity.

“That way, she can continue to wear it every day and maintain a constant connection to the past while grounding her in the present as a beloved senior member of the Royal Family.”

The Garrard website states: “From Queen Mary’s consort crown to Princess Diana’s engagement ring, royal tiaras and Crown Jewels, our creations have become part of history itself.”

Prince Edward, 60, and his wife Sophie, 59, live largely out of the spotlight with their two children Lady Louise Windsor, 20 and James Viscount Severn, 16.

The family live at Bagshot Park near Windsor and are a picture of domestic bliss compared to other royals – with Edward the only one of the late Queen’s children not to get divorced.

Unlike the prince, Sophie comes from a humble beginning.

The daughter of a tyre salesman and a secretary, she was working in PR at Capital Radio when they met in 1987.

Edward was dating her friend at the time, but six years later they got together after a charity event.

Prince Edward and Sophie with their children Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn
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Prince Edward and Sophie with their children Lady Louise and James, Viscount SevernCredit: Getty

Sophie looked spectacular at the Order of the Garter service on Monday
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Sophie looked spectacular at the Order of the Garter service on MondayCredit: AP

Sophie was working in PR at Capital Radio when she met Prince Edward in 1987
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Sophie was working in PR at Capital Radio when she met Prince Edward in 1987Credit: PA

Kate Middleton wearing late Princess Diana's  12-carat sapphire engagement ring
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Kate Middleton wearing late Princess Diana’s 12-carat sapphire engagement ringCredit: Getty

The ring is estimated to worth an eye-watering amount, given its royal connections
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The ring is estimated to worth an eye-watering amount, given its royal connectionsCredit: Getty
Sophie continued to work for a few years after they got married before finally becoming a full-time royal in 2002, but clearly believes in instilling a strong work ethic in their kids, with Lady Louise doing shifts at a local garden centre.

Edward and Sophie married on June 19, 1999 at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot in 2018.

It was a far more low-key affair than the weddings of Edward’s older siblings, which were large, formal events at Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral.

And instead of jetting off on a luxury honeymoon abroad, the couple spent it at Balmoral in Scotland.

Edward and Sophie decided not to use the HRH titles their children are entitled to – instead styling them as children of an Earl.

Sophie told the Sunday Times Magazine in 2020: “We try to bring them up with the understanding they are very likely to have to work for a living.

“Hence we made the decision not to use HRH titles. They have them and can decide to use them from 18, but I think that’s highly unlikely.”

Kate and Prince William announced their engagement in 2010, with the royal proposing with his mother’s ring in Kenya.

At the time of its creation, the ring was worth £28,000, according to Marie Claire.

Vintage ring expert Sam Mee estimates that these days its value is more like £390,000.

For his proposal, Prince Harry used stones from Princess Diana’s collection to create a ring for Meghan Markle.

Prince Harry popped the question in 2017 with a classic gold band set with three diamonds, although Meghan later upgraded the ring to feature a diamond-studded band, valued at £150,000.

Prince Harry popped the question to Meghan Markle using stones from Princess Diana's collection
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Prince Harry popped the question to Meghan Markle using stones from Princess Diana’s collectionCredit: AFP

Prince Harry proposed in 2017 with a classic gold band set with three diamonds
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Prince Harry proposed in 2017 with a classic gold band set with three diamondsCredit: Getty – Contributor

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