Cover Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997) attend a camel race at Al Maqam, near Al Ain in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, March 1989. Diana is wearing a pale pink suit by Catherine Walker. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

The 12-carat Ceylon sapphire-set cluster ring from Garrard & Co has spawned countless imitations

Princess Diana's engagement ring is one of history's most recognisable jewellery pieces. And in the latest season of Netflix's The Crown, we see how the 20-year-old chose the sapphire-set sparkler from a selection of extravagant rings from crown jeweller Garrard & Co.

Lady Diana Spencer and Charles, Prince of Wales, announced their engagement in February 1981. His Royal Highness popped the question just a few weeks earlier at Buckingham Palace.

Afterwards, while being interviewed for her biography Diana: Her True Story, Diana told journalist Andrew Morton that she laughed when Charles proposed. "I remember thinking, this is a joke, and I said ‘Yeah, OK,’ and laughed. He was deadly serious."

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The then-soon-to-be-princess chose a sapphire-and-diamond set cluster ring, which boasts a standout 12-carat oval-cut Ceylon sapphire. It was inspired by the sapphire-and-diamond brooch Prince Albert had made for his future wife, Queen Victoria.

In Netflix's The Crown, writers suggest that Diana chose the sapphire sparkler because it reminded her of her mother's engagement ring. Plus, the colour blue matched her eyes.

Diana continued to wear her engagement ring even after she and Prince Charles divorced in 1995. After her death two years later, Prince William inherited the ring, which he eventually used to propose to Kate Middleton while holidaying in Mount Kenya in 2010.

Prince Harry inherited Diana's famous emerald-cut aquamarine ring, which his wife Meghan Markle wore on her wedding day.

Have you also been inspired by Princess Diana? The gallery below showcases some diamond-accented sapphire rings that are in stores now. 

See also: Sapphire And The Jewellery That Immortalise It

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