Every time the Duchess of Cambridge and Sussex subtly honoured Princess Diana

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Prince William gave Kate Middleton his late mother Princess Diana's engagement ring in 2010. (Getty Images)
Prince William gave Kate Middleton his late mother Princess Diana's engagement ring in 2010. (Getty Images)

Diana, Princess of Wales wore several beautiful pieces throughout her time in the Royal Family, although many of the jewels and tiaras were on loan from the wider royal collection.

That being said, did have her fair share of precious gems in her private jewellery collection.

After her untimely death in 1997, Diana left her personal jewellery collection to her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, so that their “wives may, in due course, have it or use it”.

“I leave the exact division of the jewellery to your discretion,” she wrote in a letter.

The two young royals were allowed to pick two pieces in particular from Diana’s jewellery collection.

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At the time, Prince Harry chose her sapphire engagement ring, and William, his mother’s Cartier Tank watch.

However, when it came to asking for Kate Middleton’s hand in marriage in 2010, Prince William asked for his mother’s ring to do the deed, and Harry, single at the time, obliged and inherited the Cartier watch.

In the meantime, of course, Harry has gone on to marry and have two children with Meghan Markle, and the two brothers have been sure to keep their late mother’s memory alive by doing as she wished, and gifting their wives her jewellery to “have or to use”.

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Keep reading for all the times the Duchess of Cambridge and Duchess of Sussex kept Princess Diana’s memory alive with their jewellery choices.

The Cartier Tank watch

The Duchess of Sussex has regularly been seen with a Cartier Tank watch.

“I've always coveted the Cartier French Tank watch,” she told Hello! magazine, long before meeting Harry. “When I found out Suits had been picked up for our third season – which, at the time, felt like such a milestone – I totally splurged and bought the two-tone version.”

“I had it engraved on the back,” she added. “‘To M.M. From M.M.’, and I plan to give it to my daughter one day. That's what makes pieces special, the connection you have to them.”

Meghan Markle wearing her own Cartier Tank watch at New York Fashion Week in 2013. (Getty Images)
Meghan Markle wearing her own Cartier Tank watch at New York Fashion Week in 2013. (Getty Images)

An investment piece like a Cartier Tank watch is important to any wearer but when Meghan was spotted wearing a solid gold version, rather than the two-tone iteration she'd bought for herself, fans knew it came from one place: Princess Diana, Meghan's late mother-in-law.

Meghan first wore the gold Cartier Tank Française watch on her and Prince Harry’s Time 100 cover shoot, and it caused some confusion. Being in black and white it was unclear whether she was wearing her late mother-in-law’s watch in the picture or not.

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Princess Diana wearing a Cartier Tank watch
Princess Diana regularly wore her Cartier Tank watch to public engagements. (Getty Images)

But fast forward to a Fortune magazine virtual summit later in 2020 and it was confirmed to be the priceless timepiece which once belonged to Princess Diana.

Diana regularly wore the £17,800 watch to official engagements and in her downtime. The fact that Meghan is now wearing the piece is a subtle gesture designed to indicate that Diana's memory lives on, despite Meghan never meeting her late mother-in-law.

Read more: What do the Queen's and Princess Diana's handwriting say about their personalities?

The watch, originally gifted to Diana by her father, Earl Spencer, on her 21st birthday, was chosen by William when she died, but the two brother’s swapped their inherited pieces long before Harry met Meghan.

Princess Diana’s diamond tennis bracelet

Meghan has also regularly worn a diamond tennis bracelet over the years. The bracelet belonged to Diana, who wore it to several evening receptions, and was given to her by Prince Harry.

Princess Diana diamond tennis bracelet
Princess Diana wearing her diamond tennis bracelet at a gala performance of Swan Lake in 1997, with an ice blue Jacques Azagury dress. (Getty Images)

Harry had certain stones removed from the delicate piece in 2017, which were then incorporated into the design of Meghan’s engagement ring when he proposed the same year.

Meghan also wore it during the interview with Oprah last Spring, in a subtle nod to Harry's heritage and, perhaps, a reminder to the world of her status.

Meghan Markle Diana's diamond tennis bracelet
Meghan Markle wore Diana's diamond tennis bracelet in 2019. (Getty Images)

Princess Diana's aquamarine ring

Another gift from Prince Harry to Meghan, this time on their wedding day, was a dramatic piece from Diana's jewellery collection. A little bit of 'something blue' to stop traffic, in fact.

The huge emerald-cut aquamarine ring was worn by Diana on her tour of Australia, but Meghan then wore it on her right hand paired with her white Stella McCartney dress as she and Harry left Windsor Castle for their evening wedding reception at Frogmore House after their wedding in 2018.

Read more: Royals on the red carpet: The best moments in pictures

Princess Diana aquamarine ring
Princess Diana wearing the emerald-cut aquamarine ring in Sydney, Australia. (Getty Images)
The newly married Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, leaving Windsor Castle after their wedding to attend an evening reception at Frogmore House, hosted by the Prince of Wales. The bride wore a ring which belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales.
Prince Harry gave Meghan Markle the aquamarine ring on their wedding day, seen here as they set off for the reception at Windsor Castle. (Getty Images)

Princess Diana’s engagement ring

The most notable of the Duchess of Cambridge’s homages to Princess Diana is her engagement ring. Given to her by Prince William in 2010, the diamond-encircled sapphire was also his mother's engagement ring.

Prince William gave Kate Middleton his late mother Princess Diana's engagement ring in 2010. (Getty Images)
Prince William gave Kate Middleton his late mother Princess Diana's engagement ring in 2010. (Getty Images)

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The duchess has rarely taken it off in the past decade, and it has become as integral to her look as it was to Diana's, a constant reminder of the presence of William's much-loved mother.

The Lover’s Knot tiara

Another less subtle tribute by the duchess was wearing the famous Lover’s Knot tiara to a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in 2018.

It was loaned to Princess Diana on her marriage to Prince Charles, and later returned to The Crown.

Diana in Hong Kong wearing the Lover's Knot tiara.
Diana in Hong Kong wearing the Lover's Knot tiara. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Kate first wore it in 2015, and has been seen in it several times since, though Diana once claimed it was so heavy, it gave her a headache.

For the 2018 banquet, Kate wore it with the earrings owned by Diana, known as the Collingwood Pearl Drop Earrings.

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File photo dated 23/10/2018 of the Duchess of Cambridge at the State Banquet for King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands at Buckingham Palace and file photo dated 17/11/1082 Diana, Princess of Wales at the State Banquet for Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands at at Hampton Court Palace, wearing the same diamond and pearl Cambridge Lover's Knot tiara once owned by the Princess.
The Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Diana wearing the Lovers' Knot tiara and matching jewellery. (PA)

She also wore a dramatic brooch featuring a yellow ribbon, miniature crown and a diamond-ringed portrait of the Queen, gifted by the monarch, pinned to her gown.

The three pieces were all worn by Diana in Vancouver in 1986, and Kate's showcase was a clear tribute to the predecessor she never met — but greatly admires.

Watch: Who is Princess Diana?

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