No one was in the room where it happened. Or can say with any certainty at all, that it actually did.
But still, in episode 3 of this first part of the final season of The Crown, Dodi Al Fayed proposes to Princess Diana. Spoiler alert: she declines, politely. The ring cycle of this episode begins with an escape from paparazzi in Monte Carlo, into the Repossi jewelry store, where an advertisement for a diamond dome ring called the Dis-moi Oui! hangs on the wall. It catches Dodi’s eye. Does Diana like it? Sure, she says. A few days later they are in Paris, there is another trip to Repossi’s Place Vendome store and then a request from Dodi to the staff to fill the room with “roses, lots of roses.” The proposal in the episode ends up happening with no flowers in sight—but with the Repossi ring in hand.
The Legend of The Ring
The source of the engagement story seems to mainly be a Washington Post article that ran on September 9, 1997 which included an interview with Alberto Repossi, son of the founder Costantino Repossi who founded the house in Turin in 1957 (Alberto took over in 1974). The piece details the purchase of the ring during the couple’s visit to Repossi’s Monaco store.
Was it an engagement ring? Repossi explained that there was no discussion of it as such but did add that it was designed as one. The ring, according to the article, was sent to Paris for sizing and Dodi Fayed picked it up from there. How did the press find out about it, and where did the engagement rumors begin? “Someone at Lloyd’s [the insurance company] must have told the press,” Repossi said. “I would never have spoken of the ring if it had not already been revealed. My pain does not permit me to rejoice in the publicity.” In 2004, when Repossi opened a New York store on Madison Avenue, the story of the ring and the engagement was repeated in an article that ran in WWD. The ring is mentioned along with its value—an estimated $200,000—and it is referred to as a potential engagement ring for Diana, purchased hours before their fatal crash.
“It was a love story,” Repossi said then, “but also a tragedy.”
Is It True?
Well, there was a Dis Moi Oui! Repossi collection and this ring, one of their signature domes, with a center emerald cut diamond and triangular diamonds surrounding it, did exist. There was a Repossi store in Monaco established in 1978, and one in Paris opened in 1986. They have always had ties to celebrities and aristocrats and are the official jewelers to the House of Monaco and did for sure design the ring for one royal bride, Albert’s, Princess Charlene of Monaco.
But this Repossi ring, if anything, seems to be another in Dodi Al Fayed’s grand gestures. The season opens with him sending Diana a gold and diamond Cartier watch as a “it was so nice meeting you this week” gift. Later in a phone call, she recounts another present: a poem engraved on a silver platter. There is no record of the ring or the engagement in any of Repossi’s current communication, and when we talked to people who worked at the New York store, they do not remember ever hearing about it. Given the public fascination with Diana one would assume that had it actually been an engagement ring, they would have.
Let’s also consider this: would Dodi have bought Diana a widely marketed diamond cocktail ring to propose? It wasn’t custom—Diana’s first sapphire ring famously wasn’t either, but that central stone was certainly impressive—and despite the name of the collection it veers from the traditional design of an engagement ring. The dome was a signature of Repossi’s work at the time, as is the visible gold in between the stones. It seems like it was another gift perhaps, but not THE ONE.
Could I get one if I wanted?
In 2007, Gaia Repossi, Alberto’s daughter, took over the family business and radically transformed the aesthetic. The moonstones and cabochons and big cocktails rings Repossi had been known for evolved into a modern minimalist style inspired by modern art and architecture (in 2016, Rem Koolhaas redid the Place Vendome store). Pieces from the earlier Repossi era do show up on sites like 1stdibs—there are several yellow gold and colored stone cocktail rings currently listed—but no Dis Moi Oui! rings are for sale at this time.