Royals Expert Shares The Fear Palace Staffers Had Over Meghan's Controversial Jewelry

Meghan Markle has courted criticism literally from the moment she stepped into the life of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. (Piers Morgan has grumbled that the actress "ghosted" him after a date when she met the prince that same night, per Page Six.) Everything from her attitude to her interviews has come up for speculation; not even her choice of accessories has been safe. When Meghan and Harry were first dating, she was reportedly chastised by the palace for wearing a necklace featuring "M" and "H" initials, which The Firm felt was encouraging paparazzi (via Marie Claire). Then of course there was the Duchess of Sussex's famed wedding tiara controversy: She reportedly threw a fit over not being allowed to wear the headpiece she wanted.

Meghan created yet another uproar in 2018 during a royal tour that included a visit to the commonwealth island of Fiji. At a state dinner there, she wore a spectacular pair of chandelier diamond earrings. It soon came out that the accessories had been a wedding gift from Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who had just been accused of approving the murder of a journalist. According to InStyle, the jewelry was actually given to the queen for her official crown jewel collection, and the monarch simply loaned them out to Meghan for the occasion. Still, the connection was worrisome, and now a new book claims that the palace kept their concerns quiet for one particular reason.

The palace reportedly wanted to avoid another dust-up with Meghan Markle

The Daily Mail has released an excerpt from the new royal tell-all, "Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown." In it, author Valentine Low digs into what might be called the "EarringGate" story featuring Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Unlike, say, the meaning behind the pearls Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales wore to the queen's funeral, the "eye-catching" diamond earrings Meghan wore to a Fiji state dinner in 2018 had been a gift from a Saudi prince who had been implicated in the murder of a journalist just four days before the event. Low writes, "The idea that Meghan would, at a state occasion, knowingly wear earrings given to her by a man accused of having blood on his hands was surprising — to say the least." 

The royal jewelry curators reportedly noticed the earrings in news photos, and hurried to alert the palace about their shady origin. However, the staff chose to keep quiet; an inside source told Low, "We made a decision not to confront Meghan and [Prince] Harry on it, out of fear for what their reaction would be." Only after the duchess wore the diamonds a second time at (then) Prince Charles' birthday dinner did a staffer mention the issue to a "shocked" Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. 

Though the Sussexes' lawyers deny all these claims, Low is skeptical. Meghan "was no airhead princess," he writes, and kept up with the news, so he finds it suspicious that she was clueless about the backstory of her jewelry.

This isn't the first time controversy has arose surrounding Meghan Markle's jewelry

Royals fans might remember that Meghan Markle has received backlash in the past for other jewelry choices. For Meghan and Prince Harry's Time magazine cover in 2021, the duchess wore a pinky ring that was said to be tied to the same earrings from the Saudi prince. Jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz reportedly "fashioned [it] from a gift of diamonds that the couple received from the Middle East," according to Page Six (via Cafe Mom). However, Meghan and Harry were adamant that the ring was given to them by the stylist on the photoshoot. 

Meghan is not the only royal whose jewelry has caused a stir, as InStyle reported. The outlet recalled, in particular, Princess Diana's "revenge necklace." The necklace was given to the late princess by Queen Elizabeth II and she wore it the night King Charles III confessed to his affair with Queen Consort Camilla. "Glistening at her naked throat, this ornament symbolized Diana's marriage, rank, and defiant blamelessness in the face of her husband's infidelity," InStyle noted (via The Telegraph).