Meghan's 'blood money' earrings: Saudi victim Khashoggi's lawyer condemns Duchess for wearing gift from 'murderous' Crown Prince - as Palace insiders insist she ignored warnings

 The Duchess of Sussex was last night criticised by a lawyer fighting for justice for murdered Jamal Khashoggi over her decision to wear diamond earrings given to her by the man accused of ordering the brutal killing.

Michael Eisner, who heads a human rights group founded by Mr Khashoggi three months before his death, said the stunning chandelier earrings were 'bought with blood money' by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

He said he was 'baffled' that the Duchess did not know the Prince, known as MBS, was linked to the murder when she wore the earrings at a State dinner, or his appalling human rights record.

The Duchess of Sussex attends Prince Charles, Prince of Wales' 70th Birthday Party

The Duchess of Sussex attends Prince Charles, Prince of Wales' 70th Birthday Party

'Those earrings were bought with blood money and given to her by a murderer,' said Mr Eisner, chief operating officer of Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn). 'She has no business wearing them.'

The Chopard earrings were presented to the Queen by the Crown Prince as an official gift for Meghan on her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018.

The Duchess wore them on the first night of a visit with her husband to Fiji on October 23, 2018 – three weeks after Mr Khashoggi was killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and when there were prominent media reports linking MBS to the shocking assassination.

The Duchess's lawyers last week insisted that at the time of the dinner she was unaware of speculation that MBS was involved in Mr Khashoggi's murder. However, well-placed sources last night claimed the Duchess ignored advice from aides not to wear the jewellery.

FIRST OUTING: The Duchess wears the earrings in Fiji

FIRST OUTING: The Duchess wears the earrings in Fiji

BRUTAL DEATH: Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

BRUTAL DEATH: Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

At the time, the Kensington Palace press office told the media that the earrings had been 'borrowed' but did not say from whom. While the Royal Family's guidelines regarding the acceptance and ownership of gifts were adhered to, The Mail on Sunday has learned that Palace aides were frustrated that the earrings were worn.

'Nowhere in the gift policy does it say you have to wear them,' one source said.

It is understood the diamond earrings were presented by MBS as a wedding gift for Meghan during his three-day State visit to Britain in March 2018. Court Circular records show he had lunch with the Queen and Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace on March 7, 2018. There is no suggestion he gave the earrings to the Duchess in person, or indeed has even met her.

It is understood the earrings were logged on an official register of gifts and that Meghan was informed about them in July 2018. They were then selected as part of the jewellery collection to accompany the Duke and Duchess on a 16-day tour of Fiji, Tonga, Australia and New Zealand.

Every detail on such tours is meticulously planned months in advance, including the clothes and jewellery to be worn at each event. The couple were accompanied on the Fiji and Tonga leg of their tour by the hugely experienced Sir David Manning, a former British ambassador to the US and Tony Blair's former foreign policy adviser.

On October 18 – five days before Meghan wore the earrings – The Times newspaper reported how a close circle of officials and security officers around MBS had emerged as the focus of the investigation into what had happened to Mr Khashoggi.

Lawyers for Meghan last week told The Times that although she may have said they were borrowed, every relevant member of staff knew who they were from. They added that she was unaware of the rumours at the time that the Crown Prince was involved in the murder.

Lauren Kiehna, author of royal jewellery blog The Court Jeweller, said: 'What was unusual was the statement the jewels were 'borrowed' without explaining who owned them. When jewels are borrowed from the Queen, the Palace generally says so.'

The Duchess wore the earrings for a second time on November 14, 2018 – to Prince Charles's 70th birthday party at Buckingham Palace. This prompted an aide to confront Harry about the earrings, according to The Times. The Prince was reported to have looked 'shocked' that people knew where the earrings came from.

Mr Khashoggi, who wrote for the Washington Post, was killed and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. His body has never been recovered. An explosive CIA report released by US President Joe Biden nine days ago claimed MBS approved Mr Khashoggi's murder.

The Crown Prince, who is Saudi Arabia's Deputy Prime Minister and day-to-day ruler, has said he bears responsibility for the murder 'because it happened under my watch', but has denied prior knowledge of the execution.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 

The Dawn human rights group and Hatice Cengiz, Mr Khashoggi's fiancee, last year filed a lawsuit against MBS and 20 alleged co-conspirators in a US court.

Mr Eisner, a former lawyer at the US State Department, said it was important for Royals to keep up to date with major world events. 'She [Meghan] should inform herself as a member of the Royal Family of current events and politics and what's going on.'

He added that he was particularly surprised that Meghan did not know about MBS's alleged involvement given that she was photographed two years earlier alongside Loujain al-Hathloul – a Saudi human rights activist who campaigned for women's rights to drive in her home country – at a summit in Canada.

'It's baffling that she would not know the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi's murder and understand that MBS had blood on his hands,' he said.

'Loujain al-Hathloul's case is extremely prominent but if she knows about that, I would be very surprised that she wouldn't follow other events in Saudi Arabia – the biggest event in the last decade – and know of MBS's involvement in that murder.'

He suggested that the Duchess should donate the earrings to human rights victims, although such a decision would need to be approved by the Palace.

According to Royal biographers Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, Meghan turned down a free stay at London's five-star Dorchester hotel, which is owned by the Sultan of Brunei, before she married Harry amid concerns over the treatment of LGBT people in the country.

Meanwhile, in an extraordinary twist, it emerged yesterday that Mr Khashoggi was the cousin of Dodi Fayed, who was in a relationship with Princess Diana, the Duke of Sussex's mother, at the time of her death in a car crash in Paris in 1997. Mr Fayed's mother Samira Khashoggi was Jamal Khashoggi's aunt.

Meghan's 'blood money' earrings: Saudi victim Khashoggi's lawyer condemns Duchess for wearing gift from 'murderous' Crown Prince - as Palace insiders insist she ignored warnings Meghan's 'blood money' earrings: Saudi victim Khashoggi's lawyer condemns Duchess for wearing gift from 'murderous' Crown Prince - as Palace insiders insist she ignored warnings Reviewed by Your Destination on March 07, 2021 Rating: 5

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