For the first time since receiving her new title, Kate Middleton wore the Princess of Wales Feather Brooch. The piece of jewelry has been passed down through generations of royal women, dating back to 1863. Kate adopted the title of Princess of Wales upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022. And now she gets to wear the priceless piece as an emblem of her role.
Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales | Yui Mok/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
The history of the Princess of Wales Feather Brooch
The Princess of Wales Feather Brooch was made for Princess Alexandra of Denmark in 1863. She received it as a wedding gift when she married the then-Prince of Wales, future King Edward VII. People shared the “design is inspired by the Prince of Wales’ badge, which features three feathers blooming out of a crown and has been linked to the title since the 14th century.”
The piece has remained with the royal family since then. Princess Diana received it as a wedding gift from the Queen Mother. She wore it as a necklace, later attaching an emerald drop. It was reportedly one of her favorites, but it returned to Elizabeth’s collection when she died in 1997.
Queen Camilla dusted it off and turned it into a brooch after marrying King Charles in 2005. But she kept the emerald drop Diana added. Notably, she used the title of Duchess of Cornwall instead of Princess of Wales, supposedly out of respect for her predecessor. But she still got to wear the piece.
Kate Middleton wore the Princess of Wales Feather Brooch for the first time
Kate first wore the brooch to mark a special occasion — the first state visit from President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa. Along with pearl drop earrings that once belonged to Diana and a deep purple coat and hat, Kate accessorized with the piece that marks her new title as the Princess of Wales.
The princess also wore her first tiara since stepping into her new role at a state banquet for Charles’ reign. She wore a white gown with the Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot tiara, which was also one of Diana’s favorite pieces (People). And in another nod to her late mother-in-law, she wore earrings that were once part of her collection.
Royal expert points to a key difference between Kate Middleton and former Princess of Wales, Diana
According to royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams, Kate has some things in common with Diana. “Princess Diana was the most glamorous person in the world at her time,” Fitzwilliams told Reader’s Digest. “And [Kate] and William are the most glamorous and famous royal couple in the world, with [Kate] having a tremendous influence in the fashion scene.”
In his opinion, Kate is “the nearest contemporary equivalent to Diana, in terms of her popularity with both the media and the general public.”
But he also noted they are “completely different personalities,” especially about one critical aspect. “[Kate] is deeply loyal in the way she handles all her affairs,” he noted,” including in regard to her family and the institution.”
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