Kate Middleton pays tribute to the late Queen with rare royal brooch

The piece has a long history

Kate Middleton at State Dinner in November
(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images/Future)

Kate Middleton (opens in new tab) took royal fans' breath away when she stepped out at this week's state dinner, but did you notice the sentimental brooch pinned to her dress?

If you managed to take your eyes off of the stunning Jenny Packham evening gown Kate Middleton wore to this week's state banquet held in honour of the president of South Africa, you may have noticed a glistening diamond brooch sitting on the left side of her chest. 

This small brooch, pinned to her chest with a piece of yellow ribbon, is more than just a brooch. It is the Royal Family Order and was awarded to Kate by the late Queen Elizabeth.

The brooch is an extremely unique and rare item that features a portrait of the young Queen Elizabeth surrounded by diamonds and dangling from a crown.

Kate Middleton

(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Since the 1800s, in a tradition started by King George IV, every British monarch has given some version of these brooches to important women in the royal family. Each brooch features the portrait of the monarch who awarded it, and a different colour ribbon is used to further differentiate between monarchs. 

According to the Court Jeweller, the piece is awarded to women as a substitute for the commemorative medals gifted to male royals and allows royal women to illustrate their 'belonging' to the Royal Family Order. 

The late Queen herself used to wear two Royal Family Orders. Sitting on a pink ribbon was one from her father, King George VI, and on a pale blue ribbon, one for her grandfather, George V. 

Kate Middleton

(Image credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

The Queen's Royal Order is currently owned by only seven royals; Kate Middleton, the Queen Consort, the Countess of Wessex, Princess Anne, the Duchess of Kent, the Duchess of Gloucester and the Honourable Lady Ogilvy.

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Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for Goodto.com. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.