I wore my vintage glass copy of Princess Diana’s (now Kate Middleton’s) engagement ring yesterday, and, boy oh boy, did people have questions for me. First of all, they wondered if it was real (it’s not). Second of all, they wanted to know if it had been my actual engagement ring from my now ex-husband (it was not). Third, they wanted to know where I got it. I’ll tell you the story. I already mentioned that Diana was my childhood idol and someone who had great influence on me. I could probably write a separate blog about this. I’ve been feeling nostalgic talking about it so much to people over the past two days. Anyway, back in 1987, after I had recovered from the 2nd of my two scoliosis surgeries (more stories for another time), I was lucky enough to tag on a business trip that my dad took to London. I was fourteen years old, and so excited that I might have a chance to see Princess Diana in person. And I did. I waited outside the gates of Kensington Palace, and saw Diana speed by in a chauffered car, taking her son to preschool in the morning (that son was Prince William). I have some really blurry photos that I’ll try to rummage up over Thanksgiving and show you when I get back. I also have later photos from other times I met her in person and actually talked to her. I’ll tell you about that too. I really cherish those memories.
But back to the ring. On that trip in February 1987 I visited Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London. There I was, a very awkward, lanky fourteen-year-old girl with braces on her teeth and a bulky body cast on her back covering up a large scar where I had been cut down the middle a few months earlier. Can you say “awkward phase”? I was a bloody mess. The furthest thing from a fairytale princess that there was. But I had finally seen Diana, even if just through blurry car windows. And at the Wax Museum, I spotted a copy of her engagement ring at the gift shop. It cost about the equivalent of 15 American dollars at the time. I bought it as a souvenir, and gingerly placed it back in its velvet keepsake box every night. I treated it like the Crown Jewels. Back home in New Jersey I wore it to high school sometimes (yes, I was a dork). When I was older, I still wore it for fancy occasions- even after I was married and had my own engagement ring.
Diana is gone now, and Kate has Diana’s ring. My own engagement ring is stored away now that I am divorced. I highly doubt that my future daughter-in-law would want to wear it (nor that my son would want to give it to her). But this $15 glass bauble that I purchased as a 14-year-old is back in circulation in my jewelry wardrobe for at least a little while. For a few minutes a day, I feel like a princess again…and I remember the princess who started it all for me.
p.s. Want a copy of this ring for yourself? Sorry to say, there are a lot of bad imitations out there. Mine is nice and oval like the original, but many are not. Some good approximations can be found on Ebay here and here. Like mine, they are vintage versions. I’m sure newer ones will be cropping up very soon.