Queen Mother completely altered engagement ring – royal wanted to be free

Queen mother ‘saw Diana as another Wallis Simpson’ says expert

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The Queen Mother got engaged to King George VI in 1923, and the King proposed to Elizabeth with a sapphire engagement ring. However, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon as she was then known, later changed the ring to a totally different design. The Queen Mother reportedly turned down the King’s proposal three times before agreeing to marry him in January 1923, when he gave his bride-to-be a sapphire ring with diamond accents.

Sapphire rings continued to be popular among future royal brides.

Princess Diana chose a stunning sapphire and diamond design when she got engaged to Prince Charles in 1981, and the ring was later passed on to Kate Middleton when Prince William proposed in 2010.

Later in her life, however, the Queen Mother swapped it out for a large pearl surrounded by diamonds.

The statement piece was pictured on her ring finger as early as 1946 when she posed for a photo with her daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret at Royal Lodge in Windsor.

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The couple got married on April 26, 1923, at Westminster Abbey, where Elizabeth became ‘Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York’.

Elizabeth wore a 1920s style ivory wedding dress, embroidered with pearls and silver thread.

She chose not to wear a tiara, opting for a floral headpiece instead, but in her official wedding portraits, she did sport the Strathmore Rose Tiara.

The Queen Mother complimented her original engagement ring with a Welsh gold wedding band, which is traditional among the women in the Royal Family.

Elizabeth had been married to King George VI for nearly 29 years when he passed away at the age of 56 in 1952.

Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who was born August 4, 1900, met Prince Albert (the future King George VI) for the first time at a dance given by Lord and Lady Farquhar at 7 Grosvenor Square in London, in 1920.

The besotted Prince proposed to Lady Elizabeth in 1921, but she turned him down because, according to her biographer John Ezard, 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 a third that was rejected.

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

The Duke and Duchess of York welcomed their first daughter, Princess Elizabeth, in 1926, followed by Princess Margaret in 1930.

The Queen Mother lived to the age of 101 before passing away in March 2002.
Elizabeth is not the only royal who has made changes to her engagement ring.

Meghan Markle was presented with a beautiful gold trilogy engagement ring when Prince Harry proposed in November 2017, featuring diamonds from Botswana and from his late mother Princess Diana’s personal collection.

Just over 18 months later, Meghan revealed a significant change to the ring, having replaced the yellow gold band with a diamond-studded band.

The Duchess of Cambridge, meanwhile, had to have her engagement ring adjusted because it was a little too big.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge turned to jeweller G. Collins and Sons to resize the ring, and they did this by adding small platinum beads inside the band to reduce its diameter, instead of breaking the band.

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