Kate wears the Queen's pearl brooch for lying-in-state service

·2-min read
Photo credit: Christopher Furlong - Getty Images
Photo credit: Christopher Furlong - Getty Images

Catherine, the Princess of Wales, paid tribute to the Queen today in typical royal fashion – through some thoughtfully chosen jewellery. The former Duchess of Cambridge joined the rest of the senior royal family at a special service to commemorate the start of the Queen's lying-in-state at Westminster Hall.

Following in the footsteps of the Queen herself, who often used her clothing and particularly jewellery to send subtle messages, Kate was seen wearing a brooch in homage to the late monarch – a rarely seen piece from the royal family's archive that previously belonged to Her Majesty. Pinned to her black coat was the large leaf brooch, featuring a trio of pearls set against a glittering diamond pavé leaf. The choice is particularly poignant given the Queen's own love of pearls, and the fact that the gemstone is traditionally associated with mourning.

Photo credit: BEN STANSALL - Getty Images
Photo credit: BEN STANSALL - Getty Images
Photo credit: MARCO BERTORELLO - Getty Images
Photo credit: MARCO BERTORELLO - Getty Images

It's believed that the Queen gifted the piece to her granddaughter-in-law in recent years; Kate was previously seen wearing it for a memorial service in Belgium in 2017. The Queen herself was last seen wearing the brooch in 1999 during a trip to Seoul.

Photo credit: Mark Cuthbert - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mark Cuthbert - Getty Images

For the lying-in-state service, Kate also paid tribute to her late mother-in-law, the previous Princess of Wales, Diana, by wearing a pair of her pearl earrings – an elegant droplet style that she has been seen wearing several times before for significant royal engagements.

Photo credit: Christopher Furlong - Getty Images
Photo credit: Christopher Furlong - Getty Images
Photo credit: OLI SCARFF - Getty Images
Photo credit: OLI SCARFF - Getty Images

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, was also present at the Westminster Hall ceremony, and was similarly seen wearing a pair of pearl stud earrings that were once gifted to her by the Queen.

Photo credit: GREGORIO BORGIA - Getty Images
Photo credit: GREGORIO BORGIA - Getty Images

Camilla, the new Queen Consort, also chose pearl jewellery for the event, pairing her outfit with a multi-strand choker-style necklace and matching earrings.

Photo credit: CARL DE SOUZA - Getty Images
Photo credit: CARL DE SOUZA - Getty Images

There's a reason that pearl jewellery in particular is so popular with the royal family. Classic, timeless and always a signifier of elegance, pearls are "the queen of gems and the gem of queens," as Grace Kelly once observed.

Officially the oldest known gemstone and the only one created by a living creature, the pearl has long been a symbol of sophistication and power, with none of the overtly glitzy associations given to other precious gems. Indeed, before cultured pearls were created in 1893, pearls were actually rarer than diamonds, making them exorbitantly expensive and the preserve of royalty – indeed, many of the pieces worn by royals today have been in the family for decades and passed down through generations.

Now, pearls have associations with sentimentality and sustainability, and are often the gemstone of choice for women of influence – from Kamala Harris to Angelina Jolie – who are looking to convey a stylish and appropriate air of authority, without seeming overly flashy.

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