Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's latest outing — to visit a school in New York City — has sent royal fans into a frenzy, with many speculating that the duchess has made another dramatic change to her jewellery collection.
The couple stepped out on Friday in Harlem to meet teachers and school children on day two of their NYC tour after visiting One World Trade Center Observatory the previous day.
Meghan, 40, was stunning as per usual in a burgundy pantsuit and matching coat as she and her husband hugged pupils and chatted with staff.
Later, the ex-Suits star read her new picture book, The Bench to a group of youngsters as well as Prince Harry who all sat cross-legged on the floor.
But eagle-eyed fans couldn't help but notice something different about Meghan's bling, in particular her much-talked-about engagement ring.
The Duchess of Sussex made headlines back in 2019 when she 'upgraded' the traditional, gold band ring Harry designed for her to a glittering pave diamond band.
"Wait is the engagement ring different again? Is it back to being a wider band?" asked a follower of @fromberkshiretobuckingham, a popular royal fan account run by Jane Barr.
The account received so many questions about Meghan's ring that they shared a series of Instagram Stories posts investigating the supposed change.
After doing some sleuthing, @fromberkshiretobuckingham announced that the duchess was wearing the same pave diamond band ring.
"Okay, Meghan has not had her engagement ring reset a third time," Jane stated.
"The thicker band some people are thinking is a return to the old setting is her wedding band. The [engagement] ring's band is so slender it disappears in most photos," she explained.
Jane also noted that Meghan has started wearing an emerald cut diamond pinkie ring from Lorraine Schwartz which she thinks is "more along the lines of what she envisioned for her engagement ring" in the first instance.
Ringing in changes
When Meghan debuted the improvements she made to the engagement ring she received from Prince Harry in 2017, it nearly went unnoticed by the public.
It was only when close-up photos from the Trooping the Colour ceremony in May 2019 showing the Duchess’ hand waving to the crowd that the difference became clearly visible.
While the central trio of diamonds remained the same, gone was the traditional, wide gold band of the original design and in its place was a thinner band studded with pave diamonds.
It was Prince Harry who designed the original ring himself, with the help of jewellers Cleave and Company.
It features an impressive centre stone from Botswana – a place that holds special meaning for the couple after they camped there together early in their relationship.
"The ring is - is obviously yellow gold because that's her favourite - and the main stone itself I sourced from Botswana," Harry said in his first interview with the BBC since proposing to Meghan.
Harry also included a tribute to his late mum in the ring in the form of two smaller diamonds flanking the central stone which were taken from Diana's jewellery collection.
Clearing up rumours
The 'upgrades' to Meghan's ring were widely criticised but as royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand claim in their 2020 book, Finding Freedom, it wasn't the duchess' decision.
The authors say it was Harry who spearheaded the ring alteration while he was having another ring created to celebrate the birth of their son, Archie.
"On May 19, 2019, Harry also surprised his wife of one year with the gift of a ring that he had created with jeweller-to-the-stars Lorraine Schwartz, a favourite of Meghan’s.
"The conflict-free diamond eternity band paid homage to the family of three with Meghan’s, Archie’s and Harry’s birthstones (peridot, emerald and sapphire respectively) on the underside of the ring.
"Harry also thought to have Lorraine resize and reset Meghan’s engagement ring with a new diamond band."
Additional reporting by Sarah Carty.
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