Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones reveals secrets behind Princess Margaret's 'very small' engagement ring

It's not unusual for a member of the royal family to design a bespoke engagement ring before proposing – just take Prince Harry's sentimental diamonds and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi's rock for example.

However, Princess Margaret's granddaughter Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones has revealed that photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, was actually responsible for crafting her trend-setting ring from scratch back in 1960.

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The Queen's sister's floral design was made up of a ruby stone surrounded by diamonds in the shape of petals, which was a nod to Margaret's middle name, Rose. Lady Margarita described it as "very small" but "timeless" – and the fact that other royals such as Sarah Ferguson and Princess Eugenie have sported similar coloured floral rings is a testament to its continuing popularity.

Speaking of "eccentric" Antony's design, Margarita told Tatler: "[It was] very simple and very small and I think that’s probably what he wanted, nothing crazy and overstated." She added: "It’s timeless," and said that she has inherited her grandparents' love for jewellery and photography.


Antony made Princess Margaret's ruby and diamond engagement ring

Although Margaret never shared any close-up photos of her special rock, the ring was just visible on her finger as she admired the roses in the garden of Royal Lodge, which is now where Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah call home.

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Margaret and Antony – who share children David Armstrong-Jones and Lady Sarah Chatto – met at a dinner party in 1958, and they reportedly began dating when Antony was commissioned to photograph the royal. However, Margaret chose to keep her love life under wraps until their engagement was announced.


Margaret's granddaughter Lady Margarita described the ring as "timeless"

"Nobody knew about their relationship, there wasn't a whisper about it," Anne de Courcy, author of the biography Snowdon, told Town & Country. "She would see him in secret at his studio and yes, he would join her at parties, but no one could pinpoint which man she was interested in. The press focused more on the ones who were seen to be eligible. They didn't think of Tony who was often in the background."

Margaret and Antony went on to get married at Westminster Abbey on 6 May 1960, just over two months after their engagement announcement.

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