The Queen is said to have "exclaimed in amazement" when she saw the sapphire set for the first time in 1979

By Monique Jessen
May 27, 2021 01:15 PM
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Kate Middleton pulled out all the stops to host a drive-in movie night with Prince William — accessorizing her head-to-toe tartan outfit with stunning earrings on loan from Queen Elizabeth.

Accessorizing a full-length blue and green tartan trench coat from Holland Cooper, Kate wore a dazzling pair of sapphire and diamond earrings borrowed from the Queen for the event on Thursday.

The earrings, which are teardrop shape and surrounded by diamonds, originate from a sapphire suite gifted to Queen Elizabeth by Sheikh Rashid of Dubai when she visited the Middle East in 1979. Made by Asprey, the earrings, ring and necklace with its distinctive loop design is such a statement piece, the Queen is said to have "exclaimed in amazement" when she saw it, according to Leslie Fields in her book, The Queen's Jewels.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive to host NHS Charities Together and NHS staff at a unique drive-in cinema to watch a special screening of Disney’s Cruella at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on day six of their week-long visit to Scotland on May 26, 2021 in Edinburgh, Scotland
Kate Middleton
| Credit: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive to host NHS Charities Together and NHS staff at a unique drive-in cinema to watch a special screening of Disney’s Cruella at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on day six of their week-long visit to Scotland on May 26, 2021 in Edinburgh, Scotland
Kate Middleton and Prince William
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty

However, the earrings worn by Kate were not actually part of the original set. The Queen commissioned the necklace to be shortened and using the excess jewels, two sapphire loops were fashioned into new earrings. While this is the first time Kate has worn the earrings in public, the Queen has been seen in them a few times – she wore them on tour in Canada in 2005.

Queen Elizabeth arrives at the Government of Canada dinner in Edmonton
Queen Elizabeth wearing the sapphires in Canada
| Credit: UPI Photo / Heinz Ruckemann

The loan was particularly fitting as it took place at the Queen's official Scottish residence, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where the couple were joined by National Health Service staff to recognize their work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive in a Land Rover Defender that previously belonged to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to host NHS Charities Together and NHS staff at a unique drive-in cinema to watch a special screening of Disney’s Cruella at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on day six of their week-long visit to Scotland on May 26, 2021 in Edinburgh
Prince William and Kate Middleton in Edinburgh
| Credit: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty

William and Kate also played tribute to Prince Philip, who died on April 9, by arriving at the screening of Disney's Cruella in one of his favorite cars, the 2A Land Rover from 1966. The Queen's husband was such a fan of the British car brand he customized one to carry his coffin at his funeral last month.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive in a Land Rover Defender that previously belonged to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to host NHS Charities Together and NHS staff at a unique drive-in cinema to watch a special screening of Disney’s Cruella at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on day six of their week-long visit to Scotland on May 26, 2021 in Edinburgh
Prince William and Kate Middleton and Prince Philip's Land Rover
| Credit: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty

While the earrings are believed to be a loan, Kate already has several pieces of sapphire jewelry in her personal collection.

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton wearing sapphire earrings
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Aside from her sapphire and diamond cluster engagement ring, which used to belong to Princess Diana, Kate is believed to have fashioned sapphire and diamond studs from the double-tiered sapphire and diamond drop earrings Diana wore frequently during her life.