This is who was supposed to receive Duchess Catherine’s stunning engagement ring

The Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring nearly belonged to someone else…

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends a SportsAid event at the Copper Box Arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on March 22, 2018 in London, England
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring is one of the most iconic pieces of royal jewelry. 

With its stunning sapphire and diamond design and elegant shape, the Duchess of Cambridge’s ring adds an extra touch of sparkle to any of her stylish outfits. She received the ring from Prince William after he proposed whilst they were on a trip to Kenya with friends in 2010. It originally belonged to his mother Princess Diana, who received it from Prince Charles when they became engaged back in 1981. 

It’s thought by some that Prince William’s decision to propose to his then-girlfriend Kate Middleton with the very same ring was inspired by a desire to see his late mother included in some way in the exciting occasion.

However, this 12-carat oval sapphire ring was not always destined to be passed down in this way. In fact, the Duchess of Cambridge wouldn’t have ended up with this family heirloom, had it not been for her brother-in-law Prince Harry. 

More from Woman & Home:

Who owned the Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring before her?

After Princess Diana tragically passed away in France in 1997, her sapphire ring actually went to her youngest son Prince Harry. Speaking on Amazon Prime’s The Diana Story, the Princess of Wales’ former butler, Paul Burrell, spoke about how when she passed away, her two sons were given the opportunity to keep an item that once belonged to her as a keepsake.

Mr. Burrell recalled that Prince William said: "I’d like mummy’s Cartier watch, the one that Grandpa Spencer gave to her for her 21st birthday.”

Princess Diana, Princess of Wales with her sons Prince William and Prince Harry attend the Heads of State VE Remembrance Service in Hyde Park on May 7, 1995 in London, England

(Image credit: Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

Whilst Prince Harry opted for Princess Diana’s stunning ring. According to Mr. Burrell, Prince Harry made a particularly heartfelt comment about this piece of jewelry.

He claimed the young prince said: “I remember when I held mummy's hand when I was a small boy and that ring always hurt me because it was so big."

Perhaps inspired in his choice of item by the sentimental memories it held for him, Prince Harry then owned the sapphire ring.

Who was supposed to receive the Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring? 

It has been reported that once Prince William’s relationship with his then-girlfriend Kate Middleton advanced, Prince Harry then decided to give Diana’s ring to his brother Prince William to propose

It is also believed that Prince Harry liked the thought of this significant ring sitting on the throne in the future, as Duchess Catherine is set to be the country’s future queen. Had Prince Harry not made this wonderfully generous decision, it’s likely that he would have kept the ring for the moment he proposed to his own future wife - Meghan Markle. 

Instead, Prince Harry proposed to Meghan, now Duchess of Sussex, with an equally stunning diamond ring, featuring two stones that used to belong to Princess Diana.

As reported by Express.co.uk, the Duke of Sussex has also gifted his wife a sentimental eternity ring. The ring features Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan and their son Archie’s birthstones and honored their first wedding anniversary and Archie's birth.

What a wonderful gift!

Emma Shacklock
Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.


Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.


In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for womanandhome.com. 


After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!