Of the many rich traditions shared by the Irish people, the tradition of giving Irish claddagh rings has left one of the most enduring legacies throughout the world.
It is truly astounding how Irish claddagh rings, the beautiful symbols of love, loyalty and friendship crafted a few hundred years ago have found their way onto the fingers of royalty in Britain and beyond.
United Kingdom Royalty
The most noted wearer of this legendary piece of jewelry is perhaps Britain's Queen Victoria, whose name has been lent to describe a period of time, Victorian England.
Additionally, this great symbol of Ireland found its way onto the fingers of other British royals: King Edward VII, the Prince of Wales and eldest son of Queen Victoria, who was crowned upon the death of Victoria, also Queen Alexandra the Princess of Wales, as well as the son of both Edward VII and Queen Victoria, George V, who became the King of the United Kingdom of Ireland and Great Britain.
This unique piece of Irish jewelry also found its way onto the hands of those who have been described as American royalty, namely United States presidents and Hollywood celebrities. Presidents from John F. Kennedy, possibly America's most famous person of Irish heritage, as well as Ronald Reagan, have been a part of the Claddagh legacy.
John Wayne, who filmed The Quiet Man in Ireland, was also said to have worn the ring, along with the world-renowned actress Grace Kelly, who went from Hollywood royalty to a true princess.
Irish Claddagh rings also graced the fingers of both Princess Ranier and Princess Grace of Monaco, another testament to the rings glorious legacy and historical significance.
While most people who wear Irish Claddagh rings wear them as a symbol of friendship, love or as a symbol of Irish heritage, there is a special significance given to the ring, as it has been a part of history and shared a place on the hands of royalty on both sides of the Atlantic.