Meghan ignored advice and wore Prince Salman earrings three weeks after Jamal Khashoggi murder

Victoria Ward
·2-min read
SUVA, FIJI - OCTOBER 23: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends a state dinner hosted by the president of the South Pacific nation Jioji Konrote at the Grand Pacific Hotel on October 23, 2018 in Suva, Fiji. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage) - . (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)/. (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
SUVA, FIJI - OCTOBER 23: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends a state dinner hosted by the president of the South Pacific nation Jioji Konrote at the Grand Pacific Hotel on October 23, 2018 in Suva, Fiji. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage) - . (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)/. (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

The Duchess of Sussex wore earrings given to her by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia three weeks after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, against advice from palace aides, The Telegraph understands.

The Duchess, 39, had been given the Butani earrings as an official wedding present from the Saudi Royal Family.

When she wore them to a formal dinner in Fiji in October 2018, during a royal tour, the media were told that they were “borrowed” but unusually, declined to offer further information or guidance.

The dinner took place three weeks after Mr Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Duchess’s lawyers insisted that at the time of the dinner, she was unaware of speculation that the crown prince was involved in the murder of the journalist.

However, a royal source claimed that palace staff had advised the Duchess not to wear the jewellery.

“Members of Royal Household staff sometimes advise people on their options,” one said. “But what they choose to do with that advice is a very different matter.”

The earrings were accepted as a wedding gift by the prince, known as MBS, in March 2018, when he had lunch with the Queen during a three-day visit to London.

They were among a series of wedding gifts that were then transferred to Kensington Palace in June, the month after the wedding, which was when the Sussexes first knew of their existence.

A source close to the Duchess said members of her staff were aware that the earrings had been chosen as part of the Duchess’s tour wardrobe.

Saudi Arabia admitted on October 20, three days before the dinner in Fiji, that its officials were responsible for Khashoggi’s death.

Staff in London were concerned when they saw the Duchess’s earrings in the media and alerted Kensington Palace, according to The Times.

But it was claimed they decided not to take it up with the Sussexes while they were on tour “for fear for what their reaction would be."

The following month, the Duchess wore them again to the Prince of Wales's 70th birthday party at Buckingham Palace and at that point, an aide is said to have confronted the Duke about the issue.

He reportedly looked "shocked" when approached about the concerns.

Lawyers for the Sussexes’ denied he was questioned about their provenance, which they said was well known.

Read more: The controversial origins of the Royals' family jewels