On Thursday, the royals stepped out in Mombasa, the second destination of their state visit to the African country. The King, 74, and Queen, 76, kicked off day three at Mtongwe Naval Base to see a military training exercise by the Kenya Marines (trained by the Royal Marines, of which the King serves as Captain General). As the wind caught her hair after she took a seat, it was revealed that Camilla accessorized with something sentimental: the diamond floral studs with a pearl drop she wore for her civil ceremony wedding to Charles in 2005.
Although they married other people in unions that ultimately resulted in divorce (Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles divorced in 1995, followed by Charles and Princess Diana in 1996), the couple wed in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall on April 9, 2005 — 35 years after they first met.
On their wedding day, Camilla sported the diamond and pearl drop studs along with a Prince of Wales feather brooch, a nod to the traditional title held by her husband as heir to the throne.
Though Camilla was popularly known as the Duchess of Cornwall after the marriage, she was also technically the Princess of Wales. While Charles’ second wife did not use the title out of deference to Diana, who died in 1997, she would continue to wear the pin through the years.
Camilla switched outfits (and jewelry) for the blessing at St. George’s Chapel that followed the civil ceremony in April 2005. Though Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip did not attend the civil ceremony, they were there for the blessing and hosted a reception in the couple’s honor.
The newly minted Duchess of Cornwall changed from a cream coat and dress by Robinson Valentine with a matching Philip Treacy hat into a pale blue ensemble with gold embroidery and complementary feathered headpiece by the same brands, The Court Jeweller reported, and also swapped her earrings for an all-diamond floral drop pair. According to the blog, her daughter Laura Lopes would sweetly wear the earrings when she got married in 2006 — perhaps as her “something borrowed.”
Despite having a vault of royal jewelry at her disposal, Queen Camilla has never had her ears pierced — and says she never will!
In an interview with British Vogue in 2022, she explained, “The grandchildren will try to persuade me, but nothing’s going to pierce my ears.”
While Camilla’s wedding earrings were a style surprise on the third day in Kenya, the pair has long been a go-to in her jewelry box for various engagements, like the 2022 Royal Ascot.
The trip is the King and Queen’s first to a Commonwealth country since his accession upon the death of Queen Elizabeth in September 2022 and was arranged at the invitation of Kenyan President Dr. William Ruto. The four-day stay is also timed to the 60th anniversary of Kenya’s independence, which is officially celebrated on Dec. 12.
Buckingham Palace said that the royal couple would “acknowledge the more painful aspects of the U.K. and Kenya’s shared history” during the trip. King Charles used his speech at the diplomatic dinner to express “the greatest sorrow and the deepest regret” around the “wrongdoings of the past,” but he did not directly apologize on behalf of the crown as some protestors and historians demanded.
In another fashion statement, the Queen went without a tiara for the state banquet at the State House in Nairobi, which capped the first full day of the royal state visit on Tuesday.
By skipping a tiara at the state dinner, the Queen eliminated potential outcry around accessorizing with a visual symbol of the monarchy in a country formerly under British rule and scarred by The Emergency or the Mau Mau rebellion, which was met with a violent and brutal British-led crackdown in the 1950s.
Led mostly by the Kikuyu people, the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonial rule and internal Kenyan opposition to independence led to tens of thousands of deaths. According to the BBC, an estimated 11,000 Mau Mau rebels and others were killed, but unofficial figures estimate that there were as many as 90,000 Kenyans executed, while more than 150,000 were detained.
Looking back at the past in his speech on stage, King Charles said, “It is the intimacy of our shared history that has brought our people together. However, we must also acknowledge the most painful times of our long and complex relationship.”
“The wrongdoings of the past are a cause of the greatest sorrow and the deepest regret,” he continued. “There were abhorrent and unjustifiable acts of violence committed against Kenyans as they waged, as you said at the United Nations, a painful struggle for independence and sovereignty — and for that, there can be no excuse.”
Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
“In coming back to Kenya, it matters greatly to me that I should deepen my own understanding of these wrongs, and that I meet some of those whose lives and communities were so grievously affected,” he said. “None of this can change the past. But by addressing our history with honesty and openness we can, perhaps, demonstrate the strength of our friendship today. And, in so doing, we can, I hope, continue to build an ever-closer bond for the years ahead.”
On Wednesday, King Charles and Queen Camilla visited a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in Nairobi, joining British and Kenyan military personnel in an act of remembrance.
During the Mau Mau period, many veterans who fought in World War II alongside the British disposed of their medals. The King presented four veterans with replacement campaign medals, including 117-year-old Corporal Samwel Nthigai Mburia.
“You’re amazing. You set us a fantastic example,” the King was overheard saying as he met Mburia in a video the Royal Family shared on X.