The Duchess of Cambridge wears Princess Diana's pearl and diamond earrings to the Baftas - and makes them her own

Sarah Royce-Greensill
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at the BAFTAs wearing pearl and diamond earrings that belonged to Princess Diana - WireImage

Princess Diana left her jewellery to her sons, in order that their future wives may wear and enjoy it. And, true to her wishes, the Duchess of Cambridge attended the BAFTAs wearing a pair of diamond and pearl earrings from the collection of her husband’s late mother.

The earrings feature a double curve of various cuts of diamonds, with a cluster of marquise-cut stones in the centre, from which hangs a single pearl. Princess Diana wore the earrings with sizeable, silver-toned South Sea pearl drops on several black-tie occasions.

Princess Diana wearing the diamond and pearl earrings along with the Spencer tiara at a banquet in South Korea in 1992 Credit: Getty Images

She wore them with the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara, a piece the Duchess of Cambridge has also borrowed on several occasions, at a banquet for the Japanese Emperor Akihito in 1990, and again at a banquet in South Korea in 1992, when she paired them with the Spencer tiara she’d worn on her wedding day.

The earrings appeared also during a visit to Pakistan in 1991, and at a gala at the Palace of Versailles in 1994.

Princess Diana wearing the earrings at a gala at the Palace of Versailles in 1994 Credit: Pool APESTEGUY/BASSIGNAC/BENAINO/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Diana was known for her love of pearls and owned many pairs of pearl earrings, but these were among the most extravagant in her collection thanks to the number of diamonds and the way they curve up the earlobe.

They are versatile too, due to the removable pearl drop. Diana wore the earrings without the drop at her final public appearance, to a performance of Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall in June 1997, just weeks before she died.

Princess Diana wore the earrings without the pearl drop for her final public appearance at the Royal Albert Hall in 1997 Credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images

Over 20 years later, the Duchess of Cambridge appears to have made the earrings her own, by switching the original South Sea pearl drops for smaller, more elongated pearls.

The Duchess’ chic updo and one-shoulder white gown allowed the earrings to take the spotlight. She finished the look with an art deco-style diamond bracelet and, of course, her diamond and sapphire Garrard engagement ring that also once belonged to Diana.

The Duchess of Cambridge swapped the original South Sea pearl drops for smaller, more elongated pearls Credit: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

The Duchess shares Diana’s love of pearls. She has worn the Cambridge Lover’s Knot tiara, with its 19 baroque pearl pendants, for several state banquets, and regularly wears the Collingwood pearl and diamond earrings, a wedding gift to Princess Diana.

She has been seen wearing Diana’s three-strand pearl bracelet and, in 2017, at a dinner to celebrate the Queen and Prince Philip’s 70th wedding anniversary, she borrowed a pearl and diamond necklace from the Queen’s collection that Princess Diana had also worn.

The Duchess of Cambridge's chic updo and one-shoulder gown allowed the earrings to take the spotlight Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

It’s the third year that the Duchess of Cambridge has appeared on the BAFTAs red carpet, and each time she has chosen to wear evermore glamorous jewels. In 2017 she wore large peach-toned cocktail earrings with an off-the-shoulder Alexander McQueen gown, while in 2018 she chose a dramatic suite of emerald and diamond jewellery. It’s fitting that on an evening which celebrates Britain’s film talent, the Duchess brings out her most Hollywood-worthy bling.

Sign up for the Telegraph Luxury newsletter  for your weekly dose of exquisite taste and expert opinion.