Kate and Meghan's subtle tributes to Princess Diana

·5-min read

Watch: Duchess of Sussex shares Bench video

The Duchess of Sussex has appeared in public again - this time online, reading a copy of her book, The Bench, for the Brightly Storytime channel.

Meghan wore a shirt and had her hair tied back, but most notably, she had a gold Cartier Tank Française watch on her wrist. And it's not just any watch; it's the priceless timepiece which once belonged to Princess Diana, Meghan's late mother in law.

Diana regularly wore the £17,800 watch to official engagements and in her downtime. The fact that Meghan is now wearing the piece is a subtle gesture designed to indicate that Diana's memory lives on.

The watch, gifted to Diana by her father, Earl Spencer, on her 21st birthday, originally went to William on her death, but he later passed it to Harry, some years before Harry met Meghan. 

Watch: The subtle way Meghan Markle paid tribute to Princess Diana during her trip to New York

Meghan told Hello! Magazine, long before meeting Harry, "I've always coveted the Cartier French Tank watch. When I found out Suits had been picked up for our third season - which, at the time, felt like such a milestone - I totally splurged and bought the two-tone version.

"I had it engraved on the back, 'To M.M. From M.M.' and I plan to give it to my daughter one day. That's what makes pieces special, the connection you have to them."

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 19:  The Princess of Wales (R) thanks 4-year old Greta Born 19 March, after she received a programme for the Royal Gala performance by the English National Ballet at London's Coliseum.  AFP PHOTO  (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP via Getty Images)
Diana regularly wore the Cartier Tank to engagements. (AFP/AFP via Getty Images)

Now however, she has one worth far more in sentimental - and financial - value.

It's not the only occasion when `Meghan and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, have paid touching tribute to their mother in law, who died aged just 36 when William and Harry were young boys.

Much of her jewellery passed to her sons, who have since given key pieces to their wives.

Meghan has also regularly worn a diamond tennis bracelet, much loved by Diana, who wore it to several evening receptions.

Diana, Princess of Wales, arrives at the Royal Albert Hall, London, June 3 for a gala performance of Swan Lake by the English National Ballet. The princess, patron of the company, wore a short, close-fitted beaded light blue dress, similar to the Catherine Walker outfit she wore to Christie's last night. - PBEAHUMMMEB
Diana wearing the diamond tennis bracelet at a gala performance of Swan Lake in 1997, with an ice blue Jaques Azagury dress. (Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 11: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (wedding ring and bracelet detail. The duchess is wearing a diamond tennis bracelet which belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales) attends the 2019 Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 11, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Meghan wore the tennis bracelet in 2019. (Getty Images)

Harry had certain stones removed from the delicate piece, which were incorporated into the design of the engagement ring he gave to Meghan in 2017. Meghan also wore it during the interview with Oprah last Spring, in a subtle nod to Harry's heritage and, perhaps, a reminder to the world of her status.

On her wedding day, mindful of Harry's love for his mum, Meghan also carried a bouquet of forget-me-nots and white roses that had been planted in Diana's memory at Kensington Palace the year before.

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. The bride wore a ring which belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales.
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. (Getty Images)
(EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission of #960192808 with alternate crop.) Diana, Princess Of Wales wears an emerald-cut aquamarine ring as she attends The Victor Chang Research Institute Dinner Dance During Her Visit To Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
Diana, Princess Of Wales wore the emerald-cut aquamarine ring in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)

Meghan also wore a dramatic piece of Diana's on the day of her wedding - a 'something blue' to stop traffic, in fact. The huge emerald-cut aquamarine ring was worn by Diana on her tour of Australia and Meghan then wore it on her right hand as she and Harry attended their evening wedding reception at Frogmore House in 2018. A gift from Harry, she wore it paired with her white Stella McCartney dress. 

Read more: Meghan Markle debuts new jewellery and it's extremely rare

Meghan was also recently spotted in New York, carrying the Christian Dior Lady D-Lite bag, which was a favourite of Diana's, and which the fashion house then named after the Princess. Originally named the 'Chouchou' it was given to Diana by France's then-first lady, Bernadette Chirac, in 1995.

Meghan carried a version of the £3450 bag paired with a white Valentino dress on her recent visit to NYC to attend Global Citizen Live. 

The Princess of wales arrives at the Angel Roffo Hospital this morning (Friday), to be meet by an angry old lady (far left of picture) who called the Princess a whore twice.The lady, who was in her seventies, had lost a son during the Falkands conflict in 1982. PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN STILLWELL/PA.
Princess Diana with her favourite Dior bag. (PA)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 25: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (L) and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend Global Citizen Live, New York on September 25, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen )
Meghan leaving New York, carrying a version of the Lady-D bag (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen )

The Duchess of Cambridge has also paid tribute to her late mother-in law-regularly, and most notably through her engagement ring. Given to her by Prince William in 2010, the diamond-encircled sapphire was also his mother's engagement ring. 

Kate has rarely taken it off in the past decade, and it has become as integral to her look as it was to Diana's, a constant reminder of the presence of William's much loved mother. 

HONG KONG - NOVEMBER 10:  (NOT FOR MAGAZINE COVER USE IN GERMANY BETWEEN 15 August and 31 August 2007) Princess Of Wales In Hong Kong Wearing A Pearl And Diamond Tiara Which Was A Wedding Gift From The Queen.  (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Diana in Hong Kong wearing the Lover's Knot tiara. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

William has revealed that he talks about Diana regularly to the children, George, Charlotte and Louis, who refer to her as 'Granny Diana' and even write cards to celebrate her memory on mother's day. 

Another less subtle tribute was worn by Kate to a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in 2018. 

File photo dated 23/10/2018 of the Duchess of Cambridge at the State Banquet for King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands at Buckingham Palace and file photo dated 17/11/1082 Diana, Princess of Wales at the State Banquet for Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands at at Hampton Court Palace, wearing the same diamond and pearl Cambridge Lover's Knot tiara once owned by the Princess.
Kate and Diana wearing the Lovers' Knot tiara and matching jewellery. (PA)

She wore the glittering diamond Lovers' Knot tiara. It was loaned to Princess Diana on her marriage to Prince Charles, and later returned to The Crown. 

Read more: Why the Duchess of Cambridge wears so much red

Kate first wore it in 2015, and has been seen in it several times since, though Diana once claimed it was so heavy, it gave her a headache.

For the 2018 banquet, Kate wore it with the earrings owned by Diana, known as the Collingwood Pearl Drop Earrings. She also wore a dramatic brooch featuring a yellow ribbon, miniature crown and a diamond-ringed portrait of the Queen, gifted by the Monarch, pinned to her gown.

The three pieces were all worn by Diana in Vancouver in 1986, and Kate's showcase was a clear tribute to the predecessor she never met - but greatly admires. 

Watch: Kate Middleton re-wore a dress from her iconic 2011 trip to Los Angeles

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