May 7, 2023 (Updated May 9, 2023)—Catherine, the Princess of Wales, enjoys and often wears costume jewelry but I think we can all agree she knows what’s what in the fine jewelry arena too. For example, I am sure she is familiar with the fact that gem-set earrings are often designed for a left and a right ear to frame the face. Well, an eagle-eyed reader messaged me to point out how Kate turned things around for the coronation.
In other words, the royal—who is still largely known as Kate Middleton in the United States media—put on Princess Diana’s earrings backwards for the coronation. With the right earring on the left ear and the left earring on the right ear, the diamond openwork motif on the top skimmed the side of her face rather than going up the lobe.
Was this styling intentional or a mistake? It’s impossible to know with certainty. Following is a review of the evidence and some theories.
Kate wowed everyone in Diana’s earrings at the 2019 BAFTAs. For the occasion, she styled them as they were designed to be worn proving she knows left from right in earrings.
Astute royal jewelry watchers noted at the time, Kate switched out the round South Sea pearls Diana had on the jewels for oblong pearls from Diana’s Collingwood pearl set. This slight alteration clearly shows Kate understands nuances in fine jewelry.
The proven attention to detail is important for this jewelry investigation. If you have ever put a left or right earring on the wrong lobe, it is usually crystal clear you have them on backwards. And it is not just how they look, it’s how they feel. It’s not quite like putting your foot in the wrong shoe but it is along those lines.
So Kate is most likely aware of what she had done on coronation day, but there is a case to be made that the way Kate wore the earrings was an accident.
Prince William and Princess Catherine and two of their children, Louis and Charlotte, arrived a little bit late to Westminster Abbey. The well-covered delay meant King Charles and Queen Camilla had to wait in their carriage for around five minutes while the foursome found their seats.
Could the rush to the Abbey be the reason Kate put her earrings on backwards?
Over the years it has been revealed that Kate has a stylist. For the coronation I feel like she might have also had something equivalent to a royal dresser to help with the coronation robe she sported. And if she did it seems like they would have pointed-out she had the earrings on backwards. So, it would be evidence it was a styling choice. Then again it could have been overlooked by everyone in the rush to the Abbey which may have involved the rambunctious and adorable Louis.
After leaving Westminster Abbey, Kate did not switch the earrings to the proper lobes during the carriage ride to Buckingham Palace or when she appeared on the balcony with the Royal Family.
The look of the backwards earrings kind of echoed the knots on her robe and I suppose wearing them backwards made them look knottier. Whatever the case may be, it was kind of fun to see.
UPDATE: Since this post went live a couple of readers pointed out that Kate wore the earrings backwards last year at a state dinner. This would seem to prove she wore them backwards intentionally at the coronation.
Then an official coronation day photo of several Royal Family members was released yesterday and a follower noted on my Instagram post how Kate seemed to have made a correction. The tight crop of the courtesy image above makes it a bit blurry, but I do believe Kate has put on the jewels as they were designed to be worn.
This final shift, and the fact that she wore them backwards previously, leaves me right where I started with the question of intent.
The Crowns and Lack of Tiaras at the Coronation
Kate Wore Diana’s Earrings to the BAFTAS
What It’s Actually Like to Wear The Crown