Women of the British Royal Family have often been known to wear jewelry as statement pieces. Meghan Markle just used an heirloom ring from the Royal Family to give a nod to her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana. Markle and husband Prince Harry were attending the 2022 Ripple of Hope Award Gala in New York City, where they were honored with this year’s prestigious award.
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Prince Harry Gave His Mother, Princess Diana’s, Ring to Meghan Markle as a Wedding Gift
The Royal Family women’s very private history and tendency to keep absolutely mute when it comes to speaking out about controversial topics has left them no other option than to wear their hearts on their sleeves, so to speak. So, their fashion has always been thought to be full of messages. Biographers, fashionistas, and those who are paying attention have loved to speculate about what a particular brooch, tiara, necklace, or ring means.
So, what then is the meaning behind the ring that Markle wore to the Ripple of Hope gala?
The aquamarine ring was gifted to Markle by Prince Harry on the day of their wedding on May 19, 2018. The stunning ring once belonged to Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana of Wales. Princess Diana had been spotted wearing the ring while on a trip to Australia in 1996. She also wore it to a fundraising event for Christie’s in 1997. The last time she wore the ring was just weeks before the tragic car accident that took her life.
The blue ring had another important meaning, too. Not only did it once belong to Prince Harry’s mother, but Royal tradition states that its royal brides must wear “something blue” on their wedding day. Meghan Markle sported a subtle splash of baby blue on the soles of her shoes, as well as the ring. She was photographed waving with the ring on her hand as she and Harry left for their second, private wedding reception.
Meghan Markle Wore Diana’s Aquamarine Ring to the JFK Ripple of Hope Award Gala in NYC
Markle wore that ring once again to the Ripple of Hope Gala. She and Prince Harry were given the award for standing up against structural racism in the Royal Family. The Sussexes also spoke out about mental health, making it clear that it was not okay for the Royal Family to overlook such an important aspect of human rights.
“They went to the oldest institution in UK history and told them what they were doing wrong, that they couldn’t have structural racism within the institution; that they could not maintain a misunderstanding about mental health,” said Kerry Kennedy of Markle and Harry. “They knew that if they did this there would be consequences, that they would be ostracized… lose their family, their position within this structure, and that people would blame them for it… I think they have been heroic in taking this step.”
Meghan Has Stood Up Against Racism, Mental Health Stigmas
Markle notably addressed her own battles with mental health, specifically suicidal ideation, while speaking to Oprah Winfrey last year. The interview, which also addressed the systemic racism that she’d experienced, went viral. Markle was struggling with depression and racism while she was pregnant with baby Archie. Making matters worse was the nonstop tabloid attention she was getting and still receives.
“I share this because there’s so many people who are afraid to voice that they need help,” Markle told Oprah. “And I know personally how hard it is to—not just hard it is but when your voice is silenced, to be told no… This was emails, begging for help, saying very specifically I am concerned for my mental welfare… Nothing was ever done. So, we had to find a solution.”
Markle was asked about her brave decision to open up about her mental health struggles to Oprah.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make, as you can imagine,” she said.
I don’t want anyone to feel alone. And when you’ve been through anything that’s challenging, and everyone, especially in the past few years with lockdown and COVID, that spike in numbers of people having an experience they might not be voicing,” she added. “We all need to, when we can, if we feel brave enough, to just speak honestly about your own experience. It gives other people space and the courage to do the same, but more than that to really feel like you’re not alone, because I think that is often what can be the largest hindrance when you feel that way, you don’t see a way out.
But ultimately if you feel like there’s someone else that has a lived experience. they’ve gotten to the other side, and gave example of resilience, an example of ‘there is a happy ending,’ I think that’s what most people are probably seeking out in those moments,” she said. “And that’s why I made the decision to just say ‘if my experience can help someone else not feel the same way or to know that there’s hope then it’s worth every second of whatever comes with it.Meghan Markle, at the 2022 JFK Ripple of Hope Award Gala
Princess Diana Also Spoke Out About Mental Health — Is That Why Meghan Markle Wore the Ring?
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are not the first of the Royals to speak out about mental health struggles. It was actually Princess Diana who started the conversation. But her attempts to bring that conversation to the forefront of society were censored. There is a famous interview, conducted by BBC’s Panorama program in November of 1995. It came out 17 months before her death in 1997.
In that interview, which is difficult to find online but as of today is available here, Diana spoke about her own battles with depression. She suffered from severe postnatal depression (also called postpartum depression), life-threatening bulimia, and severe heartache after discovering that her husband, Prince Charles, was having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. What’s more, Diana talked about the media, and how it was relentlessly using her for its own personal gain.
Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it?
Perhaps that’s why Meghan Markle honored her late mother-in-law Diana with the aquamarine heirloom ring. She’s been following in her footsteps as a champion for mental health awareness. She’s also been relentlessly hammered by the media. And Markle has dedicated her podcast, Archetypes, to destigmatizing many of the misogynistic and false tropes that are spread by the media. Let’s just hope that her story has a much happier ending. It doesn’t seem like it’s been easy.