Who Inherits the Queen’s Extensive Jewelry Collection?

Not surprisingly, there’s royal protocol surrounding how it is dispersed.

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty)

From Camilla, Queen Consort all the way to Princess Charlotte, the women of the royal family honored the Queen last week through their jewelry—many pieces gifts from the Queen’s own collection. Kate Middleton wore a pearl choker that once belonged to Her late Majesty; Meghan wore a pair of pearl and diamond drop earrings that were a gift from the Queen on the occasion of their first joint engagement together in 2018, the same year Meghan married into the family.

The “lion’s share” of Queen’s extensive jewelry collection, according to The Daily Express, will be given to Kate, the new Princess of Wales, but, according to the outlet, Camilla will get first dibs. “The late monarch owned an extraordinary collection of jewelry worth billions of pounds,” The Express reports. “With her passing, these will now be inherited by the women to follow on the throne and other members of the royal family.” (While Camilla is the current Queen Consort, Kate will follow behind her in due course.)

In typical Queen Elizabeth II fashion, everything—right down to the plans for her jewelry—was “sorted and organized by the Queen some time ago,” says editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine Ingrid Seward. “I imagine Her late Majesty’s personal jewelry will be given to various members of the family, the Princess of Wales as the future Queen receiving the lion’s share.”

Some pieces “will remain for use of the reigning monarch’s wife—in this case, Camilla,” Seward says. “She will need a large collection to support her constitutional role.”

Royal expert Katie Nicholl explained that, again, in typical royal fashion, “there is a hierarchy in all of this,” she says. “The Queen Consort, really, gets first choice of the Queen’s jewelry. And after that is Princess of Wales, of course, Kate. The Duchess of Sussex, I’m sure, will come in for some jewelry at some point, but she is much further down the pecking order.”

As for the necklace Kate wore to the Queen’s funeral, it was loaned to her by the Queen for the first time in 2017 and was a piece commissioned by the Queen using pearls that were a gift from the Japanese government after Her late Majesty’s first state visit to Japan in 1975. “Pearls are often referred to as mourning jewelry, a tradition said to date back to Queen Victoria’s era,” The Express reports.

Speaking of Queen Victoria, Camilla wore her Hesse Diamond Jubilee Brooch to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral—diamonds in the shape of an open heart with two sapphire pendants. Even Charlotte—at just seven years old—paid tribute to the Queen through her jewelry. She wore a small diamond horseshoe brooch, a gift from her great-grandmother and a nod to Her late Majesty’s lifelong love of horses.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.