The fascinating history behind Kate Middleton's stunning £336k Prince of Wales feathers brooch and its connection to Diana

Catherine looks every inch the Princess of Wales wearing the historic brooch which pays homage to both her late mother-in-law and the Queen Consort Camilla

Kate Middleton wore the Prince of Wales feather brooch as she and William welcomed a foreign delegate
(Image credit: Justin Tallis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Catherine, Princess of Wales stepped out in the perfect fall outfit - an Emilia Wickstead dress. Kate accessorized her seasonal outfit with the historic Prince of Wales feather brooch, a stunning brooch that has only been worn by previous Princesses of Wales before.

Along with Prince William, the Prince and Princess of Wales welcomed South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in the first meeting of his trip to the UK at London’s Corinthia Hotel today.

While William and Catherine looked undeniably regal carrying out their duties, all eyes were on Kate’s accessory – the Prince of Wales feather brooch.

It is the very first time the new Princess of Wales has worn the artefact, solidifying her position and earning her place among her late mother-in-law Diana.

Kate wore the Prince of Wales feather pendant alongside a plum outfit

(Image credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

The Prince of Wales feather pendant brooch was originally a wedding gift to Princess Alexandra of Denmark from the Ladies of North Wales when she married the Prince of Wales (who would later become King Edward VII) in 1863.

Including an oval of 18 brilliant-cut diamonds accented with tiny emeralds, the brooch includes the Prince of Wales ostrich feathers and a scroll inscribed with the Prince of Wales’ motto “Ich Dien” (German for “I serve“).

After Queen Alexandra’s death in 1925, the brooch ended up with the Queen Mother.

Maxwell Stone, from luxury jewelers Steven Stone, tells us exclusively, “It’s heartwarming to see that Kate Middleton has been seen wearing the pendant as it not only serves as a nod to her new position, but it pays homage to her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, who wore the pendant regularly during her marriage to the then Prince Charles.”

“The central piece of the pendant is the Prince of Wales crest, which is flanked by blue sapphires and features small white diamonds, rubies and emeralds that are likely to represent the Welsh flag. Surrounding the crest are eighteen Edwardian-cut diamonds and 36 small round-cut emeralds. Hanging from the bottom of the pendant is a 15-carat detachable green cabochon emerald.”

“Featuring a total weight of approximately 25 carats, I’d estimate the piece to be worth £336k.”

Princess Diana first wore the Prince of Wales feathers pendant in 1982

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

In 1981, she gifted Diana the brooch to celebrate her engagement to Prince Charles.

The first time the late Princess of Wales wore it was suspended from a diamond tennis necklace – part of the Saudi Sapphire Suite – during a visit to the Royal Opera House in 1982.

It’s not known when the pendant returned to the Prince of Wales – either after their divorce or Diana’s death in 1997 – but Charles later passed the brooch onto Camilla.

Queen Consort Camilla began wearing the pendant in the early 2000s, with arguably the most important moment falling in 2005 when she wore the brooch for her wedding ceremony to King Charles in Windsor.

The now Queen Consort wore the Prince of Wales feathers brooch on her wedding day to Charles

(Image credit: Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

What is the meaning of the Prince of Wales feathers?

A significant part of the brooch is the crest of the Prince of Wales feathers.

Historians cannot be concrete on the origins of this symbol, but one of the most widely recorded stories includes a historic Prince of Wales literally picking up feathers in battle.

The origins reportedly go back to Edward, the Black Prince, eldest son and heir apparent of Edward III of England. The Black Prince was one of the leading knights of his day, fighting in the Hundred Years’ War.

At the Battle of Crécy, the Black Prince was said to have slain John I of Bohemia. The Black Prince plucked the ostrich feathers from the dead king’s helmet and adopted his motto of “Ich dien” to emphasize his heroic victory.

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.