It was one of the best-kept secrets of the decade: When Kensington Palace announced on Nov. 27 that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were engaged, they surprised the world, as it was generally assumed that the couple, who had only been dating for a year and a half, would wait until the new year to announce that they would wed.
Now, one of the people closely involved in the engagement is speaking out on how hard it was to keep that secret.
The designer of Markle's gorgeous engagement ring — a trio of diamonds on a yellow gold band — recently told Hello magazine that making the ring was the "biggest and hardest" secret he has ever had to keep.
David Thomas, a jeweler at Cleave and Company Court Jewellers, also refused to discuss how much Harry paid for the ring, which features a large diamond sourced from Botswana, and two smaller diamonds which were from a tiara that once belonged to Princess Diana.
"Jewelers are like doctors: we never discuss our patients," Thomas explained.
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He also won't make replicas. Unlike the Duchess of Cambridge's engagement ring, which has been copied the world over, Cleave and Company will not make reproduction rings for their customers.
"We're not going to be making replicas of it," Stephen Connelly, director of Cleave and Company, told Hello. "If you want a ring, then we'll design you a different one."
But if you are itching to get a lookalike ring, there are many options. "We are expecting Meghan's yellow gold band will spur its own increase in popularity for yellow gold in particular," Chloe Nalbantian, style director at wedding app Bridebook.co.uk, told HuffPost UK, which found some gorgeous alternatives.
But of course, these rings won't have the same sentimentality as Markle's. As Harry explained during the couple's first TV interview just after they appeared at Kensington Palace for a photo call, he purposely kept his mum in mind to "make sure that she's with us on this — on this crazy journey together" as he was designing the ring.
"It's so important to me to know that [Diana's] a part of this," noted Harry. "I think she would be over the moon, jumping up and down."
Markle also knows how unique her engagement ring is, explaining in the broadcast interview, "It's incredible... It's incredibly special. And you know to be able to have this which sort of links where you come from and Botswana which is important to us and it's perfect."
Botswana, of course, is where we now know the prince and Markle went on their third "date," which ended up being a camping trip. "It was three, maybe four weeks later [after the second date] that I managed to persuade her to come join me in Botswana and we camped out with each other under the stars... then we were really by ourselves," Harry said in their TV interview.
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