Royal faux pas? Camilla dons Diana's jewels

March 16, 2012 at 11:20 AM ET

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Royal accessories have a habit of staying in the family, as Kate's engagement ring shows. But it's less common for Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, wife of Prince Charles, to wear Diana's former jewels. That is until this week, when Camilla stepped out in one of Diana’s diamond brooches for a date at the races.

And some royal watchers are not pleased.

Camilla, who attended Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Festival horse races with several other royals, wore the Prince of Wales feathers brooch on the lapel of her teal coat.

She received the piece — a royal family heirloom — as a gift from her husband, the Prince of Wales, according to the palace. It features the three-feathered insignia of the Prince of Wales, surrounded by a circle of diamonds and a hanging emerald.

The piece was first given to Princess Alexandra as a wedding gift when she married the Prince of Wales in 1863. It stayed in the family, and was passed down generation after generation, until the Queen Mother eventually gave it to Diana as a wedding gift.

After her death, the brooch was returned to her ex-husband, Prince Charles.

"The Duchess of Cornwall wore it to Cheltenham as she was presenting the Queen Mother Cup for one of the races. As it once belonged to the Queen Mother, she felt it was appropriate to wear," the palace told

"That's disgraceful," wrote one commenter on a story in the UK's Express. And the Daily Beast asked, "Should Camilla really be wearing Diana's jewelry?"

What do you think? Weigh in with your vote!

Rachel Elbaum is a London-based writer and fan of all royal jewels.

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