Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (who will always be known best to many as Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle), each wore jewelry that held a personal connection to Queen Elizabeth II as they attended a service following the procession of the Queen's coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday.
Kate wore one of the Queen’s famous brooches: a piece called the Diamond and Pearl Leaf Brooch that was loaned to her by the late sovereign in 2017. The Queen would often lend items from her — and the Crown’s — extensive jewelry collection to other women in the royal family. For the solemn occasion, the new Princess of Wales paired the brooch with earrings and a bracelet that belonged to the last woman to hold that title — her mother-in-law Princess Diana.
A Sussex spokesperson confirmed to BuzzFeed News that Meghan wore a pair of diamond and pearl earrings that were gifted to her by the Queen before their first joint royal engagement in June 2018.
The gems were spotted and identified by eagle-eyed royal jewelry expert Lauren Kiehna, who chronicles the collections of the world's royal families on her website, the Court Jeweller.
"In Western cultures, white gemstones like diamonds and pearls, paired with black clothing, are traditional choices for mourning," Kiehna told BuzzFeed News. “The Queen wore pearls and diamonds for funerals, memorials, and remembrance services throughout her entire reign.”
Here’s a closer look at the jewelry worn by Meghan and Kate on Wednesday:
The Queen gave Meghan the earrings she wore on Wednesday on June 14, 2018, shortly before they both attended an official engagement in Halton, England.
Meghan described this moment in her interview with Oprah Winfrey last year. The Duchess of Sussex said that she and the Queen were traveling to the engagement by train when the monarch gifted her “beautiful pearl earrings and a matching necklace.”
“We had breakfast together that morning, and she’d given me a beautiful gift. I just really love being in her company,” Meghan said.
The Queen only wore the Diamond and Pearl Leaf brooch in public once — on a trip to Seoul in 1999, as Kiehna detailed in the Court Jeweller. The piece was not seen again until Kate wore it on a somber trip to a World War I memorial in Belgium in 2017. She wore it again in 2018.
The earrings worn by Kate on Wednesday are known as the Collingwood Pearl Drop Earrings. They were a favorite of Diana’s — and appear to be a favorite of Kate’s as well, as she has worn them on many occasions.
The bracelet Kate wore on Wednesday doesn’t have a name like some of the other royal jewels, but it is a three-row pearl bracelet that was designed for Diana in 1988.
All of Diana’s jewelry belongs to her sons William, Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. In a special “letter of wishes” released after her death, she wrote that she was allocating her jewelry to her sons, "so that their wives may, in due course, have it or use it. I leave the exact division of the jewellery to your discretion.”