Duchess Camilla’s ‘jarring’ decision to wear Princess Diana’s jewelry to important occasion honoring Prince Charles

Duchess Camilla wore Princess Diana’s jewelry item with an ‘undeniable link’ to Prince Charles.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall watches a horse riding display
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Duchess Camilla decided to wear a special piece of Princess Diana’s jewelry to a reception honoring Prince Charles and some have described it as “jarring”.  

As the wife of the Prince of Wales who is first in the royal line of succession, it’s perhaps no surprise that Duchess Camilla has an extensive jewelry collection for royal occasions and events. Many of these pieces have been spotted on other royals over the years, including Duchess Camilla’s ‘favorite’ £3million accessory. Whilst just over a year ago, Clarence House posted a moving video which included the Duchess of Cornwall’s Burns Night jewelry piece that once belonged to the Queen Mother.

However, it’s Princess Diana’s jewelry that is perhaps the most well-known, from her sapphire engagement ring now worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, to her spectacular emerald and diamond necklace. This stunning accessory has also been passed along, with Duchess Camilla wearing it to a very special occasion… 

Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a sea green sequined dress designed by Catherine Walker

(Image credit: Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

Once an elegant pendant encrusted with diamonds and emeralds and featuring the three feathers of the Prince of Wales in the center, the late Princess Diana wore it for a gala performance at the Vienna Burgh Theatre in 1986. Here it couldn’t have looked more beautiful against her Catherine Walker sequin dress of a complimentary tone of deep green. 

Like many of the Princess of Wales’ prized jewelry items, it was a royal heirloom and this necklace was passed to her by the Queen Mother in honor of her marriage to Prince Charles. Following Princess Diana’s tragic death in 1997, ownership is technically understood to have reverted to the Queen. 

This is also the case for many other royal jewelry items and Her Majesty has since loaned it to Duchess Camilla to wear. Though it seems the Duchess of Cornwall wasn’t such a fan of the necklace design, as when pictured wearing the piece it now appears detached to become a stunning brooch.  

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a reception to mark the 50th Anniversary of the investiture of The Prince of Wales

(Image credit: Photo by DOMINIC LIPINSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Perhaps the most memorable occasion where Duchess Camilla wore Princess Diana’s former necklace was at a Buckingham Palace reception to mark the 50th anniversary of Prince Charles' investiture as the Prince of Wales in 2019. For this important celebration, she proudly displayed the brooch pinned to a forest green jacket, perfectly pairing with the beauty of the gems. 

Though a stunning outfit and accessory combination, there were likely some fans who might have been surprised to see Duchess Camilla wear it there. As reported by Express.co.uk, Charlotte White, Head of Design at online diamond jeweller 77 Diamonds, reflected that her decision could have been perceived as “jarring” given the Princess and Duchess’ history. 

She stated, “The notion of Camilla wearing a sparkling emerald and diamond brooch that once rested gracefully as a pendant on Diana’s skin and close to her heart, does feel somewhat jarring when you think that many years ago Camilla was Diana’s husband’s lover.”

Charlotte added that whilst the piece does technically belong to the Queen, given the Prince of Wales feathers, the “158 year old jewel does contain within it an undeniable link to Prince Charles, the man to whom both these women are inextricably linked”.

Though some might have been surprised by Duchess Camilla's choice, given the "link" to Prince Charles' role as Prince of Wales, it certainly makes thematic sense to wear this piece to the event. Whilst Princess Diana as the Princess of Wales also honored this important link whenever she wore the necklace at official occasions. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!