The Princess of Wales is known to honor her late mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law through jewels
On Wednesday, the Princess of Wales, 41, delivered the keynote speech at the Shaping Us National Symposium at The Design Museum in London, glittering in a pair of sapphire and diamond drop earrings that previously belonged to her late mother-in-law Princess Diana.
This isn't the first time she's shimmered in the accessories. Princess Kate has worn the earrings multiple times this year, from Trooping the Colour in June to the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in March.
Prince William’s wife debuted the earrings for the first time in public at Trooping the Colour in 2022, where the fashion statement debunked a long-running rumor!
For the last ten years, Kate has worn a smaller pair of sapphire and diamond earrings that were widely believed to have been fashioned using the very same pair that Kate wore for Queen Elizabeth’s birthday parade. Because the original set had not been seen since Diana's death, the speculation continued to bubble, although Lauren Kiehna of The Court Jeweller blog was always adamant that the earrings were two separate pairs.
"The sapphires in Diana's earrings are cabochons, and the sapphires in Kate's smaller earrings are faceted. The claim has now been fully debunked as Kate has now worn the double cluster earrings," Kiehna told PEOPLE of the difference.
As the Princess of Wales cycles the larger sapphire and diamond drop earrings more frequently into her royal rotation, she follows in her mother-in-law’s fashion footsteps. Princess Diana wore the sapphire set several times during the 1990s, from a visit to Canada in 1991 to the cover of British Vogue in 1994 and at the Met Gala in New York City in 1996.
There’s also a special sapphire with a Diana connection that Kate wears every day. Prince William, 41, famously proposed to her in 2010 with the 18-carat sapphire ring that had been his mother’s engagement ring from his father, King Charles.
"Obviously, she's not going be around to share in all the fun and excitement, so this is my way of keeping her close to it all,” William said of the sentimental gesture honoring his late mother, who died in 1997, during his engagement interview with Kate.
The ring features a blue stone surrounded by diamonds — very similar to the earrings that Kate inherited from her mother-in-law!
Princess Kate is known to pay homage to Princess Diana through fashion and jewelry, often opting for the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara for state occasions — a sparkler that was famously a favorite of Diana's.
"I think we have seen lots of examples where the reference is very intentional and I think that Kate uses fashion to pay tribute to Diana in a very positive way," Bethan Holt, Fashion News and Features Director of The Daily Telegraph, previously told PEOPLE.
Another royal family member she honors through jewelry is her late grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth. Princess Kate has worn Queen Elizabeth’s jewels many times through the years, paying homage several times since the late monarch's death in September of 2022.
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The Princess of Wales wore Queen Elizabeth's pearl and diamond drop earrings and trademark three-strand pearl necklace for a few of the funerary events and paired the Bahrain Pearl Drop Earrings with a four-strand pearl choker that previously belonged to Queen Elizabeth for the sovereign's state funeral and committal service.
Princess Kate wore pieces from both the Queen and Princess Diana at King Charles’ coronation in May. She sparkled in Diana’s South Sea Pearl Earrings and Queen Elziabeth’s George VI Festoon Necklace at the historic crowning, where the necklace was concealed beneath her robes — but shined in an official coronation portrait.
Princess Kate poignantly wore more of Queen Elizabeth’s jewelry for Remembrance Day events over the weekend. On Saturday, the Princess of Wales accessorized with her late grandmother-in-law's three-strand diamond necklace plus diamond and pearl earrings at the Royal British Legion's Festival of Remembrance at Royal Albert Hall on Saturday, attending the event with Prince William, King Charles, Queen Camilla and other members of the royal family.
On Sunday, she sported the statement pearl earrings that Queen Elizabeth once wore to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Nigeria in 2003, according to fan blog Couture and Royals. Princess Kate wore the earrings for the solemn ceremony at The Cenotaph war memorial, where King Charles and Prince William laid wreaths to remember those who died or suffered during wartime.
Pearls were a poignant choice through the weekend, the stones are famously affiliated with Queen Elizabeth’s everyday style.
"Pearls are one of the very few jewelry items you can wear in mourning and are inextricably linked with Queen Elizabeth and her personal jewelry legacy," Bethan Holt, author of The Queen: 70 Years of Majestic Style, previously told PEOPLE. "It's a symbol of mourning a monarch but also a grandmother or great-grandmother."
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