On Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth marked her 95th birthday, and her granddaughter-in-law Kate Middleton made sure to mark the occasion in a special way. The Duchess of Cambridge, 39, and her husband Prince William stepped out on the monarch’s birthday for a surprise visit to 282 (East Ham) Squadron, Air Training Corps in East London, with Middleton donning jewelry she borrowed from the Queen.
Dressed in all black as the British royal family continues their period of mourning following the death of Prince Philip, the Queen's husband of 73 years, earlier this month, Middleton completed her ensemble with a pair of diamond and pearl earrings from the Queen's collection. According to PEOPLE, the Queen first wore the heirloom earrings in 1977 when she celebrated her silver jubilee, and ever since officially becoming a member of the royal family back in 2011, Middleton has worn the earrings on several occasions.
During their Wednesday outing, which came just a little more than a week after Philip’s passing, Middleton and her husband learned about how the Air Cadets support young people to develop vital life skills. More than just their black ensembles, the outing also had a special tie to the late Duke of Edinburgh, who served as Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps for 63 years until 2015. It was then that he passed the military patronage on to Middleton, who became Honorary Air Commandant.
According to the official Twitter account for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, during their visit, the royal couple spoke to a number of those who are preparing for their Duke of Edinburgh Awards, a youth development program headed by Prince Philip. Middleton herself participated in the Awards during her time at Marlborough College, PEOPLE reports. The couple's visit concluded with the Squadron taking part in a Three Cheers Salute in honor of Philip, who gained his Royal Air Force wings in 1953.
Following Philip's April 9 death at Windsor Castle, members of the royal family came together on Saturday to lay their patriarch to rest in a televised ceremony that was much smaller than typical royal funerals due to the pandemic. For that day, Middleton paid tribute to the Queen by wearing a necklace and a pair of earrings with ties to the monarch and Philip. The royal family is now in the midst of their 30-day period of mourning.