Princess Grace of MonacoDiana/Kate sapphire gumdrop, maybe? The e-ring that Grace Kelly is best known for is the 10.47 carat emerald cut trinket from Cartier, a ring so luxurious it doubled as a film prop for her role in High Society. The ring - set in platinum, with a baguette diamond on either side of the main stone - has been on display with various exhibits on the princess in the past years. But actually, it wasn't her first: Prince Rainier originally presented Grace with a much simpler Cartier eternity band of rubies and diamonds (the colors of the Monegasque flag), which she happily showed off at their engagement announcement (that's it in the picture on the left, above). Later he upgraded to the mega-diamond; some versions of the story say Rainier quickly changed the ring after realizing the size of the rocks most Hollywood stars received, but others say that the ruby and diamond ring was a friendship ring and placeholder for the larger diamond ring, which was not ready. Either way, the famous ring is one of my very favorite royal engagement rings - big like a royal ring should be, but not ostentatiously humongous.
Princess Charlene of Monaco
Princess Caroline of Monaco
Tatiana Santo Domingo
Queen Anne-Marie of Greece
Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece
Princess Tatiana of Greece
Princess Alexia of Greece
Queen Sofia of SpainSome say Sofia received an engagement ring from Juan Carlos, the future King of Spain; others say it was a bracelet, which is a different engagement tradition. Some say she received both. Apparently the proposal involved JC tossing the bauble, whatever it was, at her. "Catch!" Anyway, I don't know that she wears any particular engagement jewel on a regular basis today, but she has a tendency to wear multiple bracelets and rings at any given time.
Infanta Elena of Spain
Infanta Cristina of Spain
The Princess of Asturias
They've been fighting scandal on a few fronts for the past year or two, really; the King was caught enjoying an extravagant trip to hunt elephants in Botswana last year, during a trying time for the Spanish economy. (Oh, and his alleged mistress was with him. Oh, and it was all supposed to be done under the rader - until he broke his hip and had to fly home for an operation. Oops.) But that's not the biggest threat to the royal goodwill that comes from the role the King played in guiding Spain to a democracy following the death of General Franco. No, the biggest problem seems to be Iñaki Urdangarín.
Since late 2011, Iñaki's been under investigation for corruption. He and his former business partner are accused of embezzling public funds, diverting them for their private profit through the Noos Institute, the supposedly nonprofit organization he once chaired which arranged events for regional governments. He's persona non grata, basically, at royal events (Cristina's not around much either these days), and he's been removed from the royal website, but the problem is not solved. The investigation keeps growing - and Letizia's ring is one of the things that's been drawn into the mess.
A book on Urdangarín published last year stated that Felipe asked his sister Cristina to pick up the engagement ring from the jeweler (this makes sense, since his engagement was top secret). But supposedly Cristina was sick, so she asked her husband to handle it. The book alleges that it was paid for with the Noos credit card...and there's your problem. Allegations go further too, saying that Iñaki may have refused to allow Felipe to pay him back. Letizia stopped wearing her rings when this came about, which is a hard coincidence to ignore. Even if this is false, the association alone seems to be enough to warrant ditching the ring. (She also stopped wearing her wedding ring, but Felipe still wears his. She avoids most jewelry, even more now that Spain's economy is hurting, and she's been seen to remove or fiddle with her rings following events with lots of handshaking. Maybe she wasn't terribly averse to going ringless, we have no way of knowing.) What a mess, huh?
Anyway. That's that for today's installment. Until next week...
Which one is your favorite here?
Photos: Palais Princier/Cartier/Getty Images/Maison Repossi/AFP/Suarez/PPE