According to The Times, Meghan Markle wore earrings gifted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amidst criticism over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.
The Duchess of Sussex donned the earrings at a state dinner on October 23, 2018, during a royal tour of Fiji, and a few weeks later at Buckingham Palace.
Khashoggi was murdered on October 2 and reports about his death began circulating around October 7.
By October 9, The New York Times revealed that Turkish officials were accusing the Saudi leadership of murdering Khashoggi, with the crown prince, also known as MBS, being among those who denied the allegations.
The report was published a few days before Meghan and Harry's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, broadcast on March 7.
Meghan donned the chandelier earrings at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji, during a 16-day tour that included Australia, Tonga and New Zealand.
Royal correspondents reached out to Kensington Palace and asked about the origin of the earrings, and reporter Emily Andrews later tweeted: "The mystery of Meghan's earrings... all KP will say is that they're 'borrowed.' From whom, they will not say. Most likely the Queen. Quite frustrating when earlier in the day they're happy to say jewelry that has been given both by her & Prince Charles..."
Meghan was gifted the earrings by the crown prince before her wedding in May 2018, following his lunch with Queen Elizabeth II in March.
There is no evidence that Meghan and the crown prince have ever met in person.
The Times reported that palace staff in London became concerned when they noticed the earrings, and reached out to their colleagues on the royal tour, who decided to wait until the couple returned to Britain before raising the issue.
Meghan also wore the earrings on November 14, to an event held for Prince Charles' 70th birthday at Buckingham Palace.
Claims about the earrings were brought to light the same time palace sources talked to The Times about the bullying allegations against the duchess.
A spokesperson for Meghan addressed the controversy, stating: "The duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma. She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good."