Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September, the new King Charles III confirmed that Prince William will now be known as the Prince of Wales, while his wife, Kate, becomes the Princess of Wales. As the first Princess of Wales since Diana (Camilla, the new Queen Consort, chose not to use the title), a Kensington Palace source said that Kate “appreciates the history associated with this role but will understandably want to look to the future as she creates her own path”.
While the new Princess of Wales never got to meet Diana, the royal has often paid tribute to her through her jewelry—most notably, via the sapphire and diamond engagement ring that was famously worn by her late mother-in-law.
Below, see the most meaningful pieces in Kate’s jewelry collection that were previously worn by Diana.
The sapphire and diamond engagement ring
Arguably the most famous piece in Kate’s jewelry collection is her sapphire and diamond engagement ring, which previously belonged to Princess Diana. After the then Prince Charles asked her to marry him, Diana hand-picked the ring—which features a 12-carat Ceylon sapphire encircled with a halo of diamonds set in 18-carat white gold—from royal jewelers Garrard back in 1981. Fittingly, Prince William proposed to Kate using his mother’s engagement ring in 2010. “It is very special to me and Kate is very special to me now as well,” he said following their engagement. “It is only right the two are put together. It is my way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today.”
The double-drop sapphire and diamond earrings
Sapphires featured heavily in Princess Diana’s jewelry collection, which included a pair of double-drop sapphire earrings that were part of a suite gifted to her by the Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia when she married Prince Charles. For a long time, it was believed that the new Princess of Wales had refashioned the piece into a pair of single-drop earrings, which she is often seen wearing, in tribute to Diana. However, Kate was first seen wearing Diana’s original double-drop earrings, set with cabochon sapphires that are surrounded by diamonds, at the Trooping the Colour parade that marked the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June.
The Lover’s Knot tiara
Originally commissioned from Garrard for Queen Mary in 1917, the Lover’s Knot tiara—so-called because of the knots of diamonds that are historically a symbol of unbreakable love—was one of Princess Diana’s favorites. Based on the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara, which belonged to Queen Mary’s aunt, the Grand Duchess Augusta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in Germany, the diadem also features 19 hanging pearls and a row of diamonds (which were originally pearls) at the top, set in silver and gold. Queen Elizabeth II inherited the tiara from her mother, before loaning it to Princess Diana in 1981. The new Princess of Wales has worn the Lover’s Knot tiara at a series of high-profile events, including at a state banquet for King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands in 2018.
The diamond and South Sea pearl earrings
Princess Diana wore her diamond and South Sea pearl earrings—which feature a horseshoe design at the top and intricately-linked marquise-cut diamonds beneath—on a number of occasions, including during a visit to Australia in 1996. Kate was first photographed wearing the earrings at the BAFTA Awards in 2019, but with smaller pearls attached.
The four-row pearl and diamond choker
Made by Garrard using pearls gifted to the Queen by the Japanese government, this four-row pearl choker—featuring a large diamond clasp at the center—was loaned to Princess Diana by Her Majesty for a state banquet in honor of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1982. Kate wore the choker for the first time at a dinner marking the Queen and Prince Philip’s 70th wedding anniversary in 2017. Most recently, the Duchess of Cambridge wore the necklace at Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021.
The three-row pearl and diamond bracelet
Designed by Nigel Milne, Princess Diana’s three-row pearl bracelet had a special connection to one of her patronages: Birthright, a charity that was originally set up to stop women and babies dying in pregnancy and childbirth. The bracelet, which features pearl and diamond spacers, was part of a three-piece collection created in 1988 to raise money for the charity, with Diana wearing it at the Birthright Ball in 1989. The new Princess of Wales has worn the piece on a number of occasions, including during a visit to Jamaica in May.
The Collingwood pearl earrings
Gifted to Diana from Collingwood jewelers, these pearl drop earrings—which hang from two round diamonds at the top and three rows of smaller diamonds underneath—were famously worn by the then Princess of Wales as part of her going away outfit, following her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981. She also wore the earrings at an evening reception in Hong Kong in 1989, along with a beaded white Catherine Walker gown dubbed the Elvis dress. The Collingwood pearl earrings are a favorite for Kate, too, with the Duchess wearing them in two of her 40th birthday portraits taken by Paolo Roversi in November 2021 and unveiled in January.
The Prince of Wales feathers brooch
On becoming the Princess of Wales, Kate debuted the Prince of Wales feathers brooch for South African president Cyril Ramaphosa’s state visit in November 2022. The piece features three ostrich feathers and a coronet in the centre, the badge of the Prince of Wales, surrounded by a series of diamonds and emeralds, with an emerald drop hanging down below. The brooch was first given to Queen Alexandra by her husband, King Edward VII, when she was the Princess of Wales in 1863. Princess Diana was photographed wearing the piece as a pendant at a number of high-profile events, while Camilla, now Queen Consort, has also worn the brooch in the past.