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The One Way Meghan Honors Diana During Her Pregnancies, Source Says

"Diana would most certainly have empathized," an insider said.

When Princess Diana died in 1997, her private jewelry collection was left to her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, for a very specific purpose. As reported in The Sun, Diana left a special "letter of wishes," which stated the princess was leaving her jewelry to her boys so that they, in turn, would gift pieces to their future wives. The letter read, in part: "I would like you to allocate all my jewellery to the share to be held by my sons, so that their wives may, in due course, have it or use it. I leave the exact division of the jewellery to your discretion."

Harry chose several stunning and meaningful pieces of jewelry from Diana's personal collection for his wife, Duchess Meghan. Throughout both of her pregnancies, Meghan has paid a touching tribute to the mother-in-law she'll never meet in a deeply personal way. The duchess' unspoken message, communicated by wearing iconic pieces of jewelry that once belonged to the princess, is abundantly clear: Diana will always be part of the Sussexes's lives and her legacy will live on through her grandchildren.

While Meghan wears a lot of trendy jewelry from small and up-and-coming designers, she has purposely chosen to wear classic styles that once belonged to Diana on many important and high-profile occasions while pregnant. Read on to find out which gems and jewels the duchess has worn as an acknowledgment to the princess and to learn the poignant stories behind the precious pieces.

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The iconic Cartier Tank Française watch

One of Meghan's most-loved pieces of jewelry from Diana's private collection is the princess's iconic gold Cartier Tank Français watch. The duchess was seen wearing the treasured timepiece in her pretaped video message during last week's VAX Live concert.

In the clip, Meghan, who is in the last trimester of her pregnancy, looked serene in her floral Carolina Herrera dress, accented by several pieces of jewelry, including the Cartier watch, as she spoke about welcoming a baby daughter. "My husband and I are thrilled to soon be welcoming a daughter," she said. "It's a feeling of joy we share with millions of other families across the world. When we think of her, we think of all the young women and girls around the globe who must be given the ability and the support to lead us forward."

The watch has a touching provenance that makes it a perfect Sussex family heirloom. It was a gift to Diana from her father for her 21st birthday, but was not originally slated to be Harry's to give to his wife. When the princess died in 1997, both of her sons asked to keep one piece of their mother's jewelry. On one of their last trips to Diana's Kensington Palace apartment, William chose the Cartier watch and Harry chose Diana's sapphire and diamond engagement ring. When William decided to propose to then Kate Middleton in 2010, Harry agreed to swap.

Last year, a royal insider told Best Life, "Clearly, even though it was not what he originally selected as a special keepsake, Diana's watch is something that holds great significance for Harry," said a royal insider. "So to see Meghan wear his mother's watch must be very bittersweet."

Before Harry gifted Meghan with his mother's watch, Meghan already owned a Cartier Tank watch that she bought for herself to mark her own personal milestone. In 2015, the newly minted television star told Hello she purchased the steel and gold version of the Cartier classic as a gift to herself when her breakout show Suits was picked up for a third season. The future duchess even engraved the timepiece with this inscription: "To M.M. From M.M." Meghan also told the magazine, "I plan to give it to my daughter one day. That's what makes pieces special, the connection you have to them." Someday in the future, Baby Girl Sussex will be lucky enough to wear a statement piece of jewelry owned by her mother and the grandmother she'll never know.

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The butterfly diamond studded earrings

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex wearing Diana's butterfly earrings attends a Welcome Event at Admiralty House on October 16, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.
Phil Noble – Pool/Getty Images

In 2019, just after news of her first pregnancy was announced, Meghan wore a pair of gold butterfly earrings that belonged to Diana on the Sussexes' first day of their royal tour of Australia. The Duchess of Sussex wore the delicate yellow gold diamond-studded earrings with a sleek white sheath dress by designer Karen Gee when visiting the Sydney Opera House with Harry.

At the time, Rebecca English, royal correspondent for Daily Mail, tweeted about Meghan's subtle nod to her late mother-in-law, writing, "Really touching to think that Harry's mother's personal jewelry is now being worn by the daughter-in-law she never got to meet."

The gold and sapphire gold cuff

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrive for the Cirque du Soleil's "Totem" in aid of Sentebale at the Royal Albert Hall, London. She wears Diana's bracelet.
Karwai Tang/WireImage

Meghan has worn Diana's 18-carat yellow gold bangle with a cabochon blue sapphire at each end many times. The first time the duchess was seen in public wearing the bracelet was when she paired it with the princess's butterfly earrings on her aforementioned first official appearance while pregnant on the Australian tour.

The duchess continued to wear the bracelet, one of Diana's go-to pieces, throughout her first pregnancy, including on one particularly notable and difficult occasion. Meghan accessorized her sequined navy blue Roland Mouret gown with the classic piece when she attended the premiere of Cirque du Soleil at Royal Albert Hall in January 2019. Though she looked picture perfect, in reality, the duchess was struggling with serious mental health issues at the time. Meghan told Oprah Winfrey during her bombshell interview in March that when she looks at images from the event, she sees "the truth of what that moment was" and revealed just before leaving for the night, she had told Harry she "didn't want to be alive anymore."

"It's terribly sad to know both Diana and Meghan struggled with mental health issues while pregnant," one source told Best Life. "Perhaps the duchess wore the bracelet that night as some form of moral support. Diana would most certainly have empathized."

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The Diamond tennis bracelet

Diana's Cartier diamond tennis bracelet is especially meaningful to Meghan and Harry. The prince had two diamonds removed from the bracelet and had them used to create Meghan's trinity engagement ring. The duchess first wore the bracelet with one of her most memorable pregnancy looks, a sky blue full-length cape dress by designer Safiyaa at a reception and dinner hosted by the president of Fiji in 2018.

But the duchess's decision to wear the bracelet with a black floral dress by Armani for the Sussexes' bombshell interview with Winfrey spoke volumes. A spokesperson for the duchess told the Today show: "They wanted to wear the bracelet to have [Harry's] mother there with them during the interview."

Meghan's stunning claims that she felt marginalized by the royal family after being subjected to racist questions and felt like her pleas for help during times of severe mental distress were ignored evoked comparisons to Diana's shattering interview with the BBC's Martin Bashir in 1995.

"Meghan, with Harry's full support, spoke her truth about the way she was treated by the royal family with Oprah," a royal insider told Best Life. "It was poignant to see Meghan speak out while wearing a totem of Diana's with her husband at her side, in stark comparison to the images of Diana sitting all alone when she spoke to Bashir. It was as if they wanted vindication for Diana."

The slim, elegant bracelet became a symbol of Diana's independence in the last months of her life. In 1997, the princess wore it at the Christie's auction of her gowns in New York and was last seen wearing the bracelet at a fundraising dinner for The Anti-landmines Campaign at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington just two months before her tragic death.

The statement aquamarine ring

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a state dinner at the Royal Residence on October 25, 2018 in Nuku'alofa, Tonga. She wears Diana's aquamarine ring.
Paul Edwards – Pool/Getty Images

Harry gave Meghan Diana's gorgeous emerald cut aquamarine ring as a wedding present, which she wore as her "something blue" with a white halter-top gown by Stella McCartney to their evening reception and dinner at Frogmore House in May 2018. Meghan wore the ring several times while she was pregnant with their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. She paired it with her white floor-length gown by Theia and several other pieces—including Diana's diamond tennis bracelet—when she attended a welcome dinner at the Royal Residence in Tonga in 2018.

The main stone is estimated at 30 carats and is surrounded by trapeze cut diamonds on a yellow gold band. Diana bought the ring in 1996 after her divorce from Prince Charles was finalized and was first spotted wearing the dazzling design in October of that year with a blue one-shouldered Versace dress at a dinner in Australia.

Gemologist Alexandra Michell told Express the stunning sparkler was a "replacement engagement ring" that the princess commissioned Asprey to create using a stone that had been given to her by her close friend Lucia Flecha de Lima.

"Diana wore the ring after her marriage had ended," a source told Best Life. "Meghan received the ring from Diana's son on the first day of her marriage and wears it as a symbol of her enduring bond with her husband and her deep affection for Diana. There is beauty in that."

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Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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