Commonwealth Day 2023 marks the first Commonwealth Day since Her Majesty’s death, and the first presided over by His Majesty King Charles III as King and Head of the Commonwealth.
The Royal family turned out in force for the day with King Charles III making a speech paying tribute to the late Queen saying: "Commonwealth Day was an occasion of particular pride for my beloved mother", adding "I draw great strength from her example".
King Charles was not the only royal to pay homage to the late monarch. Eagle eyed viewers were quick to notice that Queen Consort Camilla and Princess of Wales, Kate, both paid tribute to late royals through the jewellery they wore to the service.
Fine jewellery and diamond experts at UK retailer Steven Stone have taken a close look and revealed that Camilla was wearing the Russian sapphire cluster brooch that belonged to Queen Elizabeth II. The brooch features 18 large diamonds around a smaller, detailed gold setting, with a large 8 to 10 sapphire stone in the centre. The Steven Stone experts estimate it to be worth £559,000.
Diamond expert, Maxwell Stone said: “According to the palace, the brooch was left to Queen Elizabeth when Queen Mary passed away in 1953, however it was the Queen Mother who would carry on wearing it. After the Queen Mother’s death in 2002, it returned to the Queen’s collection.”
Princess Kate opted to pay tribute to Prince William’s late mother, Diana. Kate was wearing the Prince of Wales feathers pendant/brooch, which was previously owned by Princess Diana, who wore the pendant regularly during her marriage to the then Prince Charles. The central piece of the brooch is the Prince of Wales crest, which is flanked by blue sapphires and features small white diamonds, rubies and emeralds that are likely to represent the Welsh flag. It is estimated to be worth £329,000.
Maxwell added: “It’s heart-warming to see that Kate Middleton wore the pendant as a brooch today to the Commonwealth service as it not only serves as a nod to her position as the Princess of Wales, but it pays homage to her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana, who wore the pendant regularly during her marriage to the then Prince Charles. Camilla has also previously worn the jewel.”
In her Commonwealth Day 2023 message, Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, said: “We gather as a Family of Nations to celebrate Commonwealth Day for the first time since the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“Her Majesty was a remarkable person, who lived a remarkable life. Through her seven decades of service as Head of the Commonwealth, in a rapidly changing world, she was the epitome of duty, stability, wisdom and grace. Her late Majesty loved the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth loved her.
“In our sadness at her passing, our admiration for all that she was, and our enduring gratitude for all that she gave us, we can all take heart from the fact that her vision for the Commonwealth, as an equal partnership of nations and races, has come to fruition.
“As we look to the challenges and opportunities of the world today, and seek to shape our common future, we warmly welcome His Majesty King Charles III for his first Commonwealth Day as the new Head of the Commonwealth.”