Things Prince William And Prince Harry Inherited After Princess Diana's Death

From the moment she stepped onto the royal scene, Diana Spencer was beloved. Though she was just 20 years old when she married then-Prince Charles and seemingly sealed her fate as the future queen of England, Diana was shy, subtle, and known for her adoring eyes and gentle smile. With time, however — and with warring infidelity within her marriage — Diana transformed in the public eye. Gone were the frills and pastels of her youth, and instead the then-Princess of Wales stepped into her own, making it clear that she wouldn't — in her own words — go quietly. Appropriately named the people's princess, Diana worked tirelessly to make the world around her just a little bit better.

It was a tragic day in August 1997 when it was announced that Diana died due to injuries sustained in a car accident in Paris. Just 36 years old at the time, Diana left behind a stunning legacy but, sadly, she also departed from the lives of her two young sons. Prince William and Prince Harry were 15 and 12 years old, respectively, and the world watched in stunned mourning as they walked behind her casket alongside their father, grandfather, and uncle. William and Harry have since emerged as forces to be reckoned with — in very different capacities — and have navigated their lives one inside, and one outside, of the royal family. Naturally, their mom left them both some incredible assets. Let's break them down.

Diana walked away from her divorce with a stunning payment and left the bulk of it to her sons

When Diana Spencer and then-Prince Charles separated in 1992, it was certainly a shocking turn of events by royal standards. Three years later — after Diana sat down for her infamous BBC interview — Queen Elizabeth II implored them to finally pull the plug on their marriage. As such, divorce proceedings moved forward and the pair agreed on an impressive settlement that definitely put Diana on top. Walking away with a lump sum of $22.5 million — as well as additional annual money to maintain her office and humanitarian work — Diana definitely scored financially. Of course, she had to give her HRH title and any claim she would've had to the British throne, and she had to split her time with Prince William and Prince Harry evenly with Charles. Given that they were at boarding school at the time, Diana's life seemingly appeared that it would go on as planned.

Due to changes in her will and caveats that we will get to in a bit, both William and Harry had to wait until they turned 30 to inherit money left to them by their mother. William inherited his sum of $16.5 million in 2012 after he turned 30, and Harry pocketed the same when he hit his milestone birthday in 2014.

William and Harry split Diana's ring collection between them

Diana Spencer was known for two specific rings — her iconic engagement ring that she chose herself when she accepted then-Prince Charles' proposal, and her stunning aquamarine ring that she was seen in largely after her separation. When she died, Prince William and Prince Harry split her two notable rings between them, with William choosing the engagement ring and Harry walking away with the aquamarine dazzler.

The engagement ring was first created by Garrard, a famed British jeweler, and was presented to Diana in 1981. Almost 30 years later, William got down on one knee and asked Kate Middleton — now the Princess of Wales — to marry him, and presented her with the very same ring. The sapphire center stone is 12 carats and is ensconced in 14 diamonds.

As for the aquamarine ring, the amazing piece was given to Diana by Lucia Flecha de Lima, a close friend and the wife of Great Britain's Brazilian ambassador. Richard Kay, a journalist and friend of Diana's, detailed for the Daily Mail that the ring was given to Diana to "replace the engagement ring Diana no longer wanted to wear once her marriage ended. ... The stone came from the same mine in de Lima's native Brazil which has provided aquamarines for the queen," he further noted, bringing a poignant, full circle impact to Diana's replacement ring.

Harry debunked a popular myth about inheriting this iconic ring of his mother's

Interestingly enough, a popular narrative cropped up about Diana Spencer's engagement ring and who it was specifically left to after her death. Rumor — and well-reported rumor at that — seemingly confirmed that the ring was in Prince Harry's possession following his mom's passing and that when Prince William wanted to propose to Kate Middleton, Harry gifted his brother that sapphire stunner. However, this was not how it went down, and Harry set the record straight about the inheritance whispers in his telling memoir, "Spare."

Calling the reported story about him gifting his brother the ring completely farce, Harry said that he hadn't inherited Diana's engagement ring and that there was no special moment shared between him and William when he handed over the sapphire and diamonds. As it turns out, William specifically asked for the engagement ring after Diana died, and Harry did not oppose this — it was in William's possession the entire time. 

Detailing that there wasn't a special hand-off between them, Harry further revealed that he didn't even know William was going to pop the question, but rather found out about the engagement thanks to Buckingham Palace's official announcement informing the public of Kate and William's plans to wed. Even though he and William had vacationed together in Lesotho shortly beforehand, Harry detailed that his brother never mentioned his plans to get down on one knee.

Diana left her estate to William and Harry, but there was a catch

As with many legal proceedings, there always seems to be a catch, and that was certainly the case for Diana Spencer's estate. As detailed in her will, her estate was worth $35.6 million and was split down the middle between Prince William and Prince Harry. She detailed that she wanted both of her sons to inherit their share on their respective 25th birthdays, and all other beneficiaries — including her beloved butler, Paul Burrell, and her 17 godchildren would receive their inheritances then and there.

Despite her wishes that her sons inherit their share of her wealth on their 25th birthdays, that was not how things played out. After the estate was put into a trust — as William and Harry were just 15 and 12 when she died — Diana's mom and sister were named the executors overseeing the will. In a shocking turn of events, her mother and sister applied something called "The Arrangement" on the will and its proceedings and pushed the age back from 25 to 30 for both of Diana's sons to receive their share. 

The reasoning behind the decision is still unclear. The executors also changed the amount that was left to Diana's godchildren, also for reasons unknown. By the time William and Harry inherited their full share of their mother's estate, they had both taken away just over $16 million.

The brothers inherited Diana's iconic wedding dress in 2014

"The Arrangement" made by Diana Spencer's mom and sister not only impacted when Prince William and Prince Harry inherited their lump sum from her estate, but it also delayed when the brothers could lay claim to some of their mother's possessions. Notably, they had to wait until Harry turned 30 in 2014 until they could inherit Diana's iconic wedding dress – but they did so, and Diana's sons took her dress home.

When Diana and then-Prince Charles got married in 1981, all eyes were on the future king of England and his bride. The dress was, of course, the focal point of the wedding, and it certainly embraced the trends of the decade. The gown was made by David and Elizabeth Emanuel and was custom to Diana. It was adorned with pearls in the thousands and featured a train that ran 25 feet long. After her tragic passing in 1997, Diana's dress went to her brother, Earl Spencer, and was also a part of the "Diana: A Celebration" exhibit that was held at the Spencer family home at Althorp. It then went on to be featured internationally in other collections that honored Diana's life and legacy, before it was finally given to her sons. What William and Harry chose to do with the dress, or where it is stored, remains close-lipped.

William and Harry benefitted from a discretionary fund left to them by their mother

When Diana Spencer died at the incredibly young age of 36, it seemed as though her life had really just gotten started. She had only been divorced from then-Prince Charles for a year, and she had forged her path forward, embracing humanitarian work in a way that she had never been able to do previously. She was seemingly loving the life she was creating. Though her life was cut tragically short, Diana did prepare her assets accordingly and even took her sons' future spouses into consideration.

In addition to the lump sum of her estate that was split between Prince William and Prince Harry, Diana also set up something called the Discretionary Fund. A lump deposit equaling about $125,000 went into the fund when it was created, and thanks to interest and income that was funneled in thanks to assets, the fund continued to grow. After William and Harry got married to their respective wives, Princess Catherine and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, they and their spouses could access the money and accept it for their own spending. It is an element of William and Harry's inheritance that is often lost when compared to the lump sum they both walked away with, but it's incredibly touching to think that their mom thought ahead — and considered their spouses — when she was laying out the terms of her will.

Harry singled out meaningful pieces of his mother's that have been seen on Meghan Markle

In addition to the two notable rings that Prince William and Prince Harry chose from their mother's collection, both sons took choice pieces of Diana Spencer's jewels after she died. Given that Princess Catherine has access to the royal jewels, it's not surprising that we've seen her in a number of pieces made famous by Diana, but Harry picked out specific items from Diana's private collection that have since been spotted on his wife, Meghan Markle.

Fans first got a glimpse of the pieces Harry inherited when Meghan wore Diana's famous diamond and sapphire butterfly earrings in 2018. Diana often wore this set in the early years of her marriage, and Meghan donned the set in her first year of marriage to Harry. It was also symbolic, as Meghan had just announced that she and Harry were expecting their first baby together. The earrings felt innocent, timely, and incredibly poignant. 

Meghan has since been spotted in other beloved favorites of her late mother-in-law's, including Diana's gold broken bracelet, which features sapphires on either side of the bangle. The Duchess of Sussex has also notably worn Diana's iconic gold Cartier watch, donning it during the Invictus Games as well as during her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. The symbolism of such a choice certainly did not go unnoticed.

Like William, Harry chose specific items of his mother's when he proposed to Meghan

When Prince William popped the question to then-Kate Middleton, the world let out a collective, "Awe," when they saw Diana Spencer's iconic sapphire and diamond engagement ring on her hand. Seeing the ring back in the public eye has been lovely, and Prince Harry similarly included his late mom in the jewelry process when he proposed to Meghan Markle.

Harry designed Meghan's engagement ring alongside jewelers at Cleave & Company, known for their role as Queen Elizabeth II's primary jewelers. He chose the center diamond — a gorgeous cushion-cut stone — that was sourced in Botswana, an incredibly meaningful place for the couple as they shared an important trip to the country in the early months of their relationship. On either side of the center diamond are two smaller diamonds — in a touching move, Harry picked out the two stones from his mom's personal collection.

Speaking of her engagement ring, Meghan gushed in their engagement interview, "It's beautiful, and he designed it, it's incredible." Turning her attention to Diana specifically and the use of gems from her personal collection, Meghan further said, "It's so important to me — to know that she's a part of this with us. ... It's incredibly special."

Harry spoke about his inheritance from Diana at length after he left his position as a senior royal

Though the world was collectively stunned when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced in January 2020 that they would be stepping back as senior members of the royal family, retrospect has really shown that if any royal historically sought out a normal life, it was Harry. Following his mother's footsteps of speaking out about his true experience within the walls of the firm, Harry revealed that life as a royal – and navigating the internal family politics, the incredibly brutal royal rota, and the racism Meghan experienced on a daily basis — was not worth it. 

Making it clear that they wanted to become financially independent from the royal family, Harry and Meghan set out for the United States and eventually sat down with Oprah Winfrey to tell their side of the story. During that famous sit-down, Harry spoke about the money he inherited from Diana Spencer and how crucial that lump was when he and Meghan were establishing themselves outside of the family.

"I've got what my mum left me, and without that, we would not have been able to do this," Harry said, before noting that relying on her in his time of need felt incredibly poignant. "Touching back on what you asked about what my mum would think of this, I think she saw it coming," he continued. "I certainly felt her presence throughout this whole process."

William and Harry inherited a number of Diana's most beloved outfits

Diana Spencer was known internationally for a number of reasons. In the early years of her life, she was seen as the dazzling new personality that was far more interesting than her husband, which in and of itself caused some issues between them. As time went on, she was seen first and foremost for her humanitarian work, and as she continued to come into her own with time, Diana was certainly looked at as a fashion icon. 

Her clothing tracked her own internal growth — the pastels and frills of her early marriage years transformed into sleek hats and bold colors which were then followed by gorgeous suits and (of course) the revenge dress. Diana knew what she was doing when it came to clothes, leading a lot of people to wonder what happened to her wardrobe after her untimely death. As it turns out, Prince William and Prince Harry inherited the bulk of it.

Once "The Arrangement" had come to an end and both William and Harry were 30 years old, the brothers inherited 150 pieces of Diana's personal items. Among the assets were 28 of her dresses, a number of her iconic evening gowns, her suits, and two diamond tiaras. William and Harry also inherited more of her jewelry, as well as letters, pictures, and videos from her life.

William inherited name and title from his mother – Catherine embraced both

As much as Diana Spencer's time within the royal family was riddled with strife, she was tied to the moniker — Princess of Wales — in a way that was synonymous with her name. As such, when Camilla Parker Bowles and then-Prince Charles got married in 2005, Camilla decided not to use the Princess of Wales title, even though she was entitled to it. It was not used publicly until King Charles III bestowed the Prince and Princess of Wales titles onto Prince William and Princess Catherine, respectively, and the two have certainly embraced the roles.

In a poignant display, Catherine proved that she would be looking to Diana as she navigated the new title. In her first state banquet appearance as the Princess of Wales, Catherine wore a stunning gown and the Queen Mary's Lover's Knot tiara, which was a particular favorite of Diana's. The pearl and diamond tiara was often seen throughout Diana's royal life, and she became inexplicably tied to it much like she did the Princess of Wales designation. Catherine's choice to don the piece — that was made by jeweler Garrard between 1913 and 1914 — certainly did not go unnoticed. It became clear at that very moment that not only did William and Catherine inherit titles from Charles and Diana, but they would be honoring Diana's legacy as they moved forward in their new roles.

The brothers were left personal items of Diana's with incredibly special meaning

Millions of people watched as Prince William and Prince Harry walked behind their mother's casket in 1997. It was heart-wrenching, and the photographs of a young Harry — who was just 12 years old at the time — following his mom are certainly burned into the world's collective memory. The funeral was, without question, devastating, and it came to a crescendo when Elton John performed "Candle in the Wind." As it turns out, Harry and William inherited the lyrics and score of the song after it was performed in Westminster Abbey, allowing them a connection to Diana Spencer for the last time.

Harry further spoke about his mom's funeral and John's performance in his memoir, "Spare," noting that he was in a state of muddled shock until the musician stood up to play. "The funeral began with a series of readings and eulogies, and culminated with Elton John. He rose slowly, stiffly, as if he was one of the great kings buried for centuries beneath the abbey, suddenly roused back to life," Harry wrote. "Is there anyone who doesn't know that he sang 'Candle in the Wind,' a version he'd reworked for Mummy? I can't be sure the notes in my head are from that moment or from clips I've seen since. ... I do have one pure, indisputable memory of the song climaxing and my eyes starting to sting and tears nearly falling. Nearly."