A constant source of style inspiration over the years, Princess Diana knew the power of communicating through her wardrobe choices. Whether it was forgoing gloves to shake the hands of an AIDS patient at London Middlesex Hospital in 1987 or wearing her now-iconic sweater by Warm & Wonderful with its one black sheep conspicuously on display (and now being recreated by Rowing Blazers), the beloved princess used her innate sense of personal style to create her own identity within the royal family.
The royal's timepiece collection was no exception: Most of the watches that Princess Diana collected and wore over the years had a special meaning behind them. A yellow gold Patek Philippe model, gifted to her by Prince Charles for her 20th birthday, was often seen on Diana's wrist during the early years of their marriage. One famous photograph, taken of the princess while she watched the Prince of Wales during a polo match, shows Princess Diana wearing his watch and her Patek Philippe stacked on her arm, as though it was almost a superstitious move—as well as a fashion statement to emulate.
Princess Diana was also gifted several timepieces for her wedding between her and Prince Charles. The royal family of Saudi Arabia gave her a gemstone-laden Asprey timepiece that was later converted into her immortalized choker necklace, while Queen Elizabeth II presented her with a diamond-set Vacheron Constantin watch that was created in 1947.
Following her and the Prince of Wales's divorce, Diana was more often seen wearing her Cartier timepieces. She possessed two: a Tank Louis Cartier watch with a yellow gold case and black alligator strap and a Tank Française, also in yellow gold. The Tank Française (a gift from her father John Spencer, the 8th Earl Spencer) was chosen by Prince William as his personal keepsake upon his mother's death. Cartier's emblematic design—first conceived in 1917 and inspired by a bird's eye view of the war tanks of WWI—only gained more ground as a chosen piece of Princess Diana's personal collection.
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