Here's Why Kate Middleton's Engagement Ring Is So Controversial

Kate Middleton's engagement ring once belonged to Princess Diana. The iconic sapphire ring has been controversial since Diana chose it.

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For today's lesson in things you never knew about the royal family, let's talk about Kate Middleton's (opens in new tab) engagement ring.

The first thing you need to know about Kate's stunning sapphire ring is that it was originally Princess Diana's (opens in new tab) engagement ring, back when she was preparing to tie the knot with Prince Charles (opens in new tab).

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The second thing you need to know about the ring is that it has a long history of controversy in the royal family, dating back to when Diana picked it out. The story starts in 1981, when Prince Charles presented Diana with a selection of rings to choose from for her engagement ring, according to Vogue (opens in new tab). The rings came courtesy of Garrard, who was the crown jeweler at the time.

Diana selected the Ceylon sapphire stone set in white gold that has since become iconic. Here's where the controversy comes in—the ring was a "stock item." Meaning? It wasn't bespoke and any old commoner with enough money could buy exactly the same ring. Oh, the horror, right?

Clearly, Diana didn't care about this one bit. She loved the ring and continued to wear it after her divorce from Charles in 1996.

When Will and Kate (opens in new tab) got engaged in 2010, he proposed with his late mother's beloved ring, saying it was his "way of keeping her close to it all," according to OK! (opens in new tab).

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Kate, for her part, was also thrilled to be wearing the "controversial" bauble. "It’s beautiful – I hope I look after it! It’s very special," she said at the time.

Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.