Queen Mother completely altered engagement ring despite it having ‘the rarest’ sapphire

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen’s mother, got engaged to Prince Albert – the future King George VI in 1923. The prince proposed to his fiancée with a sapphire ring with diamond accents.

The Queen Mother and King George VI announced their engagement in January 1923, but Elizabeth reportedly turned down the then Prince’s proposal three times before agreeing to it.

The couple wed on April 26, 1923, in Westminster Abbey.

Elizabeth became Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York, while her husband was the Duke of York, before becoming King when his brother abdicated the throne in 1936.

The Queen Mother wore a 1920s style ivory dress for her big day, embroidered with pearls and silver thread

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Elizabeth chose not to wear a tiara, opting for a modern floral headpiece instead.

She matched this with three necklaces of varying length.

The Queen Mother’s wedding ring was made of Welsh gold, as is traditional for all female members of the Royal Family.

Her engagement ring at the time was a Kashmir sapphire with diamond on either side.


Kashmir diamonds are “the most rare and highly prized of all sapphires”, according to experts at the Antique Jewellery Company.

However, this did not stop the Queen Mother from completely altering the ring a few years later.

Although it is not clear when Elizabeth swapped her engagement ring for a new design altogether, she was seen wearing the new ring as early as 1946.

In the photograph, she is posing with her daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret at the Royal Lodge in Windsor.The new engagement ring was a large pearl, surrounded by tiny diamonds.

Other members of the Royal Family have altered their engagement rings since.

When Prince Harry proposed to Meghan Markle in November 2017, the Prince gave the Duchess of Sussex a gold trilogy ring with diamonds both from Botswana and from Princess Diana’s personal collection.

But, just over 18 months later, Meghan replaced the ring’s yellow gold band with a delicate diamond-studded band.The Duchess of Cambridge had her ring adjusted too: her reason being that it was too big.

Prince William gave his fiancée his mother’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring.

However, what is interesting about the Queen Mother is that she was proposed to by Prince Albert three times before saying “yes”.

The first time was as early as 1921, but, according to Elizabeth’s biographer, John Ezard, she turned him down because she felt “afraid never, never again to be free to think, speak and act as I feel I really ought to”.

Albert is reported to have proposed a second time when Elizabeth was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Princess Mary to Henry, Viscount Lascelles at Westminster Abbey.

Once again Elizabeth turned down the Prince’s proposal and many reports state there was even a third rejection.

The Queen Mother was reportedly unsure about the restrictions that would be placed on her by marrying into the Royal Family.

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