The jewelry of Diana, who died in 1997, was inherited by her two sons and now has a special place in their wives' collections

By Stephanie Petit
January 29, 2019 04:05 PM

Kate Middleton never got to meet Princess Diana, but she’s honoring her late mother-in-law through her jewelry.

Kate and Prince William headed to Dundee, Scotland, on Tuesday for a busy day that included opening the Victoria and Albert Museum, meeting locals on the seafront and speaking to Michelin factory workers about efforts to find new opportunities for employees following the factory’s planned closure.

The royal mom of three fittingly sported a recycled green tartan coat by Alexander McQueen (her wedding dress designer!) for the occasion, but it was her choice of jewelry that marked a sweet tribute to William’s mother. The sapphire and diamond earrings worn by Kate were previously owned by Diana – and perfectly match the engagement ring that was also an heirloom.

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Kate, who celebrated her 37th birthday earlier this month, has worn the drop earrings on several occasions dating back to 2011, shortly after her royal wedding in April of the same year.

Kate Middleton in 2019
Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock
Kate Middleton in 2015
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty
Kate Middleton in 2011
George Pimentel/WireImage

While Diana wore the pieces both as double drop earrings and studs, Kate has customized the sapphire and diamond stunners to a modern single drop design.

The earrings were also a favorite of Diana’s – she wore them on numerous occasions over the years, including a 1986 visit to Japan (along with a matching headband!) as well as a 1995 trip to New York, paired that time with a statement pearl and sapphire choker.

Princess Diana in 1986
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Princess Diana in 1993
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Princess Diana in 1995
Anwar Hussein/Getty

The jewelry of Diana, who died in 1997, was inherited by her two sons, William and Harry. Although very little of it was seen in public for many years, several pieces have been gifted to the princes’ wives and are back in the spotlight. While Kate also wears a pearl bracelet designed by Nigel Milne and pearl earrings by Collingwood jewelers previously owned by Diana, Meghan has worn a pair of butterfly earrings and a gold bracelet that belonged to the late royal, as well as a special aquamarine ring that made its return on Meghan’s wedding day.

The square-cut ring was given to Diana by her good friend Lucia Flecha de Lima, the wife of the former ambassador of Brazil to the U.K., to wear in place of her engagement ring after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

Meghan Markle (in 2018) and Princess Diana (in 1997) wearing the aquamarine ring
Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images; Tim Graham/Getty Images

It’s clear that each of Diana’s sons inherited one of their mother’s special rings – William received her engagement ring, while Harry held onto the aquamarine stunner – which now have a special place in their wives’ jewelry collections.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
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Meghan’s engagement ring also has ties to her mother-in-law. It is made up of three diamonds, with one large stone in the center flanked by two smaller stones on the sides. The two side stones are from his late mother, Princess Diana’s personal collection, while the center stone is from Botswana, a country that is close to Harry’s heart.