The Princess of Wales’ best jewellery moments

From her sparkling Alexander McQueen Coronation headdress to her Garrard sapphire engagement ring and Cartier halo wedding tiara, we count down ten of the best jewellery moments of Catherine, Princess of Wales

9 January 2024

By Kim Parker

The Princess of Wales, AKA Kate Middleton, celebrates her birthday today, so we’re taking a look back at some of her brightest and best jewellery moments from over the years. Sit back (maybe with a slice of cake?), relax and feast your eyes on these fantastic bejewelled baubles…

The Coronation Headdress

Princess of Wales
Catherine, Princess of Wales arrives ahead of the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla in 2023 (Photo by Dan Charity/Getty Images)

A more informal, tiara-less vibe may have ruled over the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla in the summer of 2023, but the new Princess of Wales played an absolute blinder in an ornate beaded silver headdress by Alexander McQueen and milliner Jess Collett (which purportedly cost around £30,000 to make). She paired it with diamond and South Sea pearl earrings which once belonged to her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana.

The Garrard Engagement Ring

The engagement ring of Catherine, Princess of Wales
The sapphire engagement ring of Catherine, Princess of Wales (Photo: Arthur Edwards/Getty Images)

In 2010, Prince William proposed to Kate in Kenya with this 12-carat, oval-cut Ceylon sapphire ring that once belonged to his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, and unknowingly kickstarted a trend for colourful gemstone engagement rings which is still going strong today. Designed by Garrard, the iconic sparkler is surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds and set in white gold. Kate is reported to have had the ring slightly resized, adding platinum beads within the band to reduce its diameter.

The Cartier Halo Tiara

Catherine, Princess of Wales
Catherine, Princess of Wales on her wedding day (Photo: Getty Images)

You could have heard the nation’s collective sighs from outer space when the former Kate Middleton appeared in her lacy Alexander McQueen gown and the Cartier Halo tiara on her wedding day in 2011. The diadem was famously lent to her (her ‘something borrowed’) by Queen Elizabeth II and was set with 739 brilliant-cut diamonds and 149 baguette diamonds. Its origins date back to 1936, when George VI commissioned Cartier to create the diadem with the diamonds and platinum he had purchased for his wife three weeks before he became King George VI. Kate teamed the tiara with a pair of diamond drop earrings from Robinson Pelham, which were a wedding gift from her parents.

The Van Cleef & Arpels’ Alhambra Suite

Catherine Princess of Wales wearing Van Cleef & Arpels
Catherine, Princess of Wales in the Royal Box at the Coronation Concert in Windsor (Photo by Yui Mok/Getty Images)

It’s not always about tiaras for Kate. The Princess is also a repeat wearer of a mother-of-pearl Alhambra suite by Parisian jeweller, Van Cleef & Arpels. The pieces are thought to be a gift from her Royal in-laws and their history is rooted in the late 1960s, when the line was introduced and famously embraced by Princess Grace of Monaco. Its lucky quatrefoil motif is inspired by the Moorish architecture of Spain’s Alhambra Palace.

The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara

Catherine Princess of Wales in the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara
Wearing the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara to a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in 2023 (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Ok, that said, we absolutely adore Kate in the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara, which she also frequently (and aptly) wore as the Duchess of Cambridge. Crafted in 1914 by Garrard for Queen Mary, the headpiece is actually a famous copy of an earlier tiara, the original Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara, which was created for Mary’s grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse (and is currently owned by a private family). It was also a former favourite of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Nizam of Hyderabad necklace

Kate Middleton at the National Portrait Gallery
The then Duchess of Cambridge at the National Portrait Gallery in 2014 (Photo by Alastair Grant/Getty Images)

She’s recently honed her jewellery look with either big earrings or fabulous headpieces, but in 2014, Catherine stepped out to an event at the National Portrait Gallery wearing a dazzling diamond necklace, which was lent to her by Queen Elizabeth II and had been a wedding gift to the Queen from the Nizam of Hyderabad.

The Lotus Flower Tiara

Catherine Princess of Wales
Catherine, Princess of Wales during a Diplomatic Corps reception at Buckingham Palace in 2022 (Photo by Victoria Jones – Pool/Getty Images).

For official events, such as receptions at Buckingham Palace, Kate gets to bring out the best bits from the Royal Vault and the Lotus Flower Tiara is becoming a firm favourite. Given as a wedding present to Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 1923, it was originally made as a necklace before being transformed into a tiara, and formerly belonged to Princess Margaret.

The Queen’s Pearl Choker Necklace

Kate Middleton in the Queen's pearl choker necklace
The Princess of Wales is known as the Duchess of Rothesay while in Scotland, and wore the late Queen’s pearl choker during a national service of thanksgiving and dedication to the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla at St Giles’ Cathedral in 2023 (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Most recently worn in Scotland for a thanksgiving service following the Coronation of King Charles III, this lovely four-strand pearl necklace was passed down by Queen Elizabeth II and was reportedly crafted for her with pearls given as a present by the Japanese government. Kate also touchingly wore it to Prince Philip’s funeral in 2021.

The Queen Mary Emerald and Diamond Choker

Wearing the Queen Mary emerald and diamond choker at the Earthshot prize
Emeralds were a fitting green gemstone option for attending The Earthshot Prize back in 2022 (Photo by Ian Vogler-Pool/Getty Images)

What else to wear to celebrate the Earthshot Prize back in 2022 but some eye-catching emeralds? Once a piece from Princess Diana’s jewellery collection, the fetching emerald and diamond collar was first worn by Queen Mary in 1911 and later given to Princess Diana in 1981 as a wedding present.

The Crystal Onitaa Earrings

Kate Middleton at the No Time to Die premiere
Kate’s entire look at the “No Time To Die” World Premiere in 2021 should count as an exquisite jewellery moment, shouldn’t it? (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Come ON. Kate didn’t come to play as she stepped out onto the red carpet for the premiere of the James Bond film, “No Time to Die” back in 2021. In fact, her sequinned Jenny Packham gown and golden crystal earrings by South Asian designer, Onitaa (which she also wore on a royal trip to Belize) transformed her into a walking, talking, life-sized jewel and helped her totally steal the show from Mr. Bond himself. Which is what you can do when you’re the Princess of Wales, isn’t it?

Like this? Check out our review of the best jewellery moments of 2023