Princess Diana's jewelry was inherited by these key royals—but who got her most iconic pieces?

Princess Diana’s jewelry collection is still showcased today at special occasions

Princess Diana's jewelry is showcased as she attends a dinner at the British Embassy in Washington, DC, November 1985
(Image credit: Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

Princess Diana’s jewelry collection contains some of the most iconic of all the Royal Family’s precious pieces.

Princess Diana's jewelry was as varied as it was beautiful and she certainly had an eye for style, having re-designed her engagement ring from Prince Charles for a very important reason. Though we will sadly never again see these fabulous jewelry items worn by Princess Diana herself, royal fans often catch glimpses when they’re worn by several prominent royals. 

Following her death, Diana was clear about who should inherit her personal collection, though she left the exact division of the individual pieces to them. 

Who inherited Princess Diana's jewelry?

Whilst Princess Diana wore several beautiful pieces throughout her time in the Royal Family, many of these were not her personal property and were on loan from the wider royal collection. These included some of her favorite items such as the Lover's Knot Tiara which her daughter-in-law Kate Middleton has since been pictured wearing. 

However, this didn’t stop Diana from building up a pretty sizeable collection of gems herself. And after her tragic death in 1997, Diana was very specific about who should inherit her pieces. She wanted her sons Prince William and Prince Harry to inherit her personal jewelry collection.

Though Diana very sadly never got to meet either of her daughter-in-laws, she made this request to her sons, intending for their future wives to wear and/or own them, as William and Harry saw fit. 

Princess Diana's jewelry collection was legendary. Here she is pictured with a young William and Harry wearing her signature string pearls.

Princess Diana pictured with a young William and Harry wearing her signature string pearls

(Image credit: Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

She is understood to have written a special “letter of wishes” where she left her jewelry to her sons’ future wives.

"I would like you to allocate all my jewelry to the share to be held by my sons, so that their wives may, in due course, have it or use it", the letter stated. "I leave the exact division of the jewelry to your discretion."

What did Kate Middleton inherit from Princess Diana’s jewelry? 

Though Princess Diana sadly never got to meet her future daughter-in-law Kate Middleton, she has honored Diana often by wearing some of her most iconic jewelry pieces. Many of these are thought to have been loaned to her for specific occasions, though there is one item in particular that is worn every day. Princess Diana’s dazzling sapphire engagement ring was inherited by Kate Middleton after Prince William used it to propose to her. 

This stand-out piece features diamonds surrounding a 12-carat oval sapphire and is Kate’s best-known piece of jewelry. Though it suits Kate wonderfully, it was originally intended for someone else

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends the ICAP charity day at ICAP on December 9 wearing her engagement ring, which was recently part of Princess Diana's jewelry collection

Kate Middleton pictured wearing Princess Diana's iconic sapphire and diamond engagement ring. 

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Speaking previously on Amazon Prime’s The Diana Story, the Princess of Wales's former butler, Paul Burrell, spoke about how when Diana passed away, her two sons were given the opportunity to keep an item that once belonged to her as a keepsake.

Whilst William chose her Cartier watch, it was Harry who chose her ring, only to give it to his brother to propose with when his relationship with Kate advanced. This special gesture allowed Princess Diana to be included in William and Kate’s proposal and it’s thought he wanted to use this ring for this exact reason.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits the Emma Bridgewater pottery factory to view the production of a mug that the company has launched in support of East Anglia's Children's Hospices on February 18, 2015 in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England

Kate Middleton attending a royal engagement, wearing Princess Diana's sapphire earrings to match her engagement ring. 

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Coordinating perfectly with this ring are Diana’s sapphire earrings, which it’s believed William also gifted to Kate. Though she has updated the style from the larger style Diana favored, they look wonderful whenever she wears them. Diana is said to have been gifted a set of sapphire and diamond jewelry pieces from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia as a wedding gift.

It's thought that Diana's earrings were part of this set. And while Diana’s sapphire jewelry pieces are certainly iconic, so are her South-Sea pearl earrings. 

Kate was pictured wearing these to the BAFTAs in 2019, though it’s not yet known whether she now owns them outright, or borrowed them from the collection for this event. 

These earrings feature a diamond knot design, with a drop pearl, that can reportedly be removed. According to Tatler, the earrings were first worn in public at the Coronation Banquet of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan in 1990.

And the pearls don’t stop there! Princess Diana’s three-strand pearl bracelet is another item which Kate has showcased at an important engagement–this time in Germany back in 2017. 

Diana's pearl bracelet includes circular diamond spacers which separate the three strands of cultured pearls, making each one even more noticeable. Diana wore this stunning piece on several occasions, including with her Catherine Walker outfit dubbed the 'Elvis Look' in Hong Kong in 1989. 

Princess Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge arrive for a reception at 'Claerchens Ballhaus' dance hall in Berlin, on the second day of the British royal couple visit to Germany, on July 20, 2017

Kate Middleton attends an engagement in Germany in 2017 with Prince William, wearing Princess Diana's dainty three-strand pearl bracelet. 

(Image credit: Photo credit BRITTA PEDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

What did Meghan Markle inherit from Princess Diana’s jewelry? 

As with Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle inherited some of Princess Diana’s most iconic jewelry items. Perhaps the most sentimental of these was her engagement ring, featuring three beautiful diamonds. 

The larger centre stone is understood to come from Botswana–an especially sentimental place for Harry and Meghan who vacationed there prior to their engagement. 

Meghan Markle attends an Anzac Day Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey on April 25, 2018 in London, England

Meghan Markle attends an Anzac Day Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in 2018, wearing her diamond engagement ring. 

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Though the ring itself was not Meghan's mother-in-law’s, the two diamonds either side of the centre stone are said to have come from Diana’s tennis bracelet. 

So even though Harry selflessly gave his mother’s sapphire ring to William for his future bride, Harry’s wife still gets to honor Diana everyday. And that's not the only ring that Meghan showcased on her wedding day.

Another of Diana's precious pieces was glimpsed on her finger as she made her way to her reception later on in the day and it's thought this one was gifted to her by Harry.

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 Windsor, Britain, May 19, 2018

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are pictured leaving Windsor Castle after their wedding to attend an evening reception, with Meghan wearing Princess Diana's aquamarine ring. 

(Image credit: Steve Parsons/Pool via REUTERS via Alamy)

Diana's cocktail ring includes an emerald-cut aquamarine, with two diamonds set either side in perfect balance and a yellow gold band. Meghan has gone on to wear the ring on several occasions since her wedding day, including during her and Harry's tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2018. 

Princess Diana reportedly commissioned the piece herself after her divorce from Prince Charles and wore it instead of her engagement ring. 

Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, smiles during a reception hosted by the Governor General at Admiralty House in Sydney on October 16, 2018

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, attends a reception hosted by the Governor General at Admiralty House in Sydney in 2018 and wears Princess Diana's butterfly earrings. 

(Image credit: STEVE CHRISTO/AFP via Getty Images)

It was also whilst touring Australia and New Zealand that Meghan was spotted wearing a more playful jewelry item. Princess Diana’s yellow gold and diamond butterfly earrings are stunningly stylized and were part of a set that included a necklace. The Princess of Wales wore the earrings on a royal tour of Canada in 1986. 

It’s not known whether Meghan now owns these earrings, though some have claimed Harry gifted them to her to mark her pregnancy with Archie. Along with the earrings, Meghan also wore a gold bangle that previously belonged to Diana, which could either have been borrowed or gifted as well. 

Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan walk outside the Sydneys iconic Opera House on October 16, 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk outside Sydney's iconic Opera House in 2018, where Meghan can be seen wearing a golden bangle that once belonged to Princess Diana.

(Image credit: SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Princess Diana was seen wearing this open-ended gold bangle on several occasions throughout the 1990s. It features two blue stones at either end and is a very modern, though still iconic, piece of jewelry. 

Which other royals inherited Diana's jewelry? 

Though Princess Diana’s jewelry was largely left to her son’s wives, these were the pieces from her personal collection and there were many iconic jewelry items royal fans might associate with Diana that have been returned to the Royal Family. 

This includes the four-string pearl choker that Diana often borrowed from the Queen for special events. The so-called Japanese Four-Row Pearl Choker is believed to include pearls presented to Her Majesty from the Japanese government. Diana wore the choker to a state banquet in 1982, but more recently, they were loaned to Kate Middleton.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives for the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021 in Windsor, England

Kate Middleton arrives for the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle, wearing the Queen's four-row pearl choker.

(Image credit: Photo by Chris Jackson/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Duchess of Cambridge was seen wearing these stunning pearls, paying subtle tribute to the Queen at Prince Philip's funeral.

Whilst Kate also wore the famous Lover’s Knot Tiara when attending a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in 2018.

Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a cream satin dress by Gina Fratini with the Queen Mary Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara and diamond earrings attends a banquet on April 29, 1983 in Auckland, New Zealand

Diana, Princess of Wales is pictured wearing the Lover's Knot Tiara at a banquet in 1983 in Auckland, New Zealand. 

(Image credit: Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

This was reportedly one of Princess Diana’s favorite tiaras to wear when she was loaned it, despite it being so heavy, it’s said to have given her a headache. 

The Queen inherited this magnificent piece from Queen Mary, whom it was made for, and though Her Majesty has also worn it, she has not been pictured doing so for many years now. 

Despite this, it's lovely to think that those who inherited Princess Diana's most iconic pieces are enjoying them as much as she did. 

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!