Kate Middleton Loaned Queen Elizabeth II's Diamonds for Jamaica Visit

Kate Middleton wore a collection of Queen Elizabeth II's sparkling jewels at an evening reception hosted by the governor-general of Jamaica on Wednesday.

Forming part of Kate's visit to the island with Prince William to celebrate the Queen's platinum jubilee, the dinner was held at King's House in Kingston and the duchess put on a regal show of appreciation for her hosts.

Glittering in an emerald green ball gown from one of Kate's favorite designers, Jenny Packham, she paired the look with a pair of earrings and bracelet loaned to her by the Queen.

Though the modern "tassel" style pieces have been worn by the Queen since the 1980s their provenance is not known. The diamond and emerald pieces are set in gold and also have a matching necklace which was not worn by Kate. Queen Elizabeth wore the suite of jewels to a banquet given by President Obama during his state visit to London in 2011.

Kate Middleton Queen Elizabeth II Earrings
Kate Middleton was loaned the emerald and diamond earrings belonging to Queen Elizabeth II for her royal tour of the Caribbean. Kate (L) photographed at the Governor General's reception in Jamaica, March 23, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II (R) photographed during the 2011 state visit of President Barack Obama, May 25, 2011. Samir Hussein/Pool/WireImage/JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images/

The jewels left an impression on the then-First Lady Michelle Obama. Speaking to Stephen Colbert to promote her book, she said "You sort of look and go—'all that is real', you think 'that's nice—but it's all real.'"

Kate paired the borrowed jewels with the star of the Royal Victorian Order and a special piece of her own, a diamond badge featuring a portrait of the Queen, pinned to a yellow silk ribbon known as the "Royal Family Order".

This special badge is a personal gift from the Queen to working female members of the royal family. The honor is not always given. Sarah Ferguson never received the order after she married Prince Andrew, though Princess Diana did, and notably Meghan Markle didn't receive one. This could perhaps be due to the fact that brides are usually given the order some years after their marriage. Kate waited six years to receive hers, though it was reported that she waited until the badge no longer included ivory products in its manufacture.

As Meghan has stepped down from being an official working member of the royal family it is unlikely that the Queen will give her the family order.

The evening reception at King's House comes after a series of protests held on the first two stops of the royals' Caribbean tour to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas.

In Jamaica, protests have been organized demanding that William acknowledge the British royal family's role in the enslavement of Africans brought to the country to work on sugar plantations before the practice was abolished in the 1830s.
Prominent Jamaican figures have denounced the tour and expressed not only a desire to discuss seriously with British representatives the topic of reparations to be paid to slave descendants but also removing the Queen as the head of state.

Kate Middleton Jamaica Jewels
Kate Middleton wore a Jenny Packham evening dress to a reception given at Kings House in Jamaica on the final night of the royal visit. The duchess paired the dress with diamond and emeralds from Queen Elizabeth II's collection as well as her royal family order and star of the Grand Victorian Order. March 23, 2022. Samir Hussein/Pool/WireImage

Elizabeth II remains Jamaica's head of state though the country gained its independence from Britain in 1962. Though the Queen has no direct dealings with the day-to-day governance of the island, some Jamaicans feel that 60 years on from independence the country should have its own head of state, untying themselves from the royal family.

In a meeting with Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Wednesday, William and Kate were told of the island's wish to move towards a greater sense of independence. He said: "There are issues here which as you would know are unresolved... but Jamaica is as you would see a country that is very proud... and we're moving on. And we intend... to fulfill our true ambition of being an independent, fully developed and prosperous country."

In what has been seen as an attempt to foster the relationship between Jamaica and the royals, William said in a speech given at the evening reception later that night, "Catherine and I only wish we had more time to spend with you all in Jamaica. There is so much more to learn. I hope this will be one of many visits."

The future of Jamaica's relationship with the monarchy is tenuous. In 2020 a poll conducted by the Jamaican Observer newspaper found that 55 percent of respondents said that the Queen should no longer be the head of state. William and Kate's Caribbean tour ends on Saturday following a three-day visit to the Bahamas.

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