YELLOWKNIFE - The Northwest Territories is hastening to assure northern taxpayers that they didn't pay for lavish, diamond-encrusted jewelry given to Prince William and his wife Kate during their Canadian visit last summer.
British royal-watchers were raising eyebrows after they realized the brooch and cufflinks the royal couple received while in Yellowknife were custom-made platinum baubles encrusted with nearly 700 tiny diamonds from Canadian mines.
"It was not paid for by taxpayers," said government spokeswoman Megan Holsapple. "It was donated by Harry Winston."
She said the total cost to northerners for the gift was "zero."
The polar-bear-shaped cufflinks and brooch were designed and manufactured by Harry Winston, which owns 40 per cent of the N.W.T.'s Diavik diamond mine and is also well-known as a supplier of sparkly stuff to Hollywood glitterati.
The set was by far the most valuable of the many gifts Will and Kate received during their visit to Alberta, the N.W.T., Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ottawa.
Palace records show the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also received cowboy hats, a carved sockeye salmon, a teddy bear, three pairs of shoes, fascinators and a pair of snow goggles carved from caribou antler.
The couple also visited California, where they received an iPad from Gov. Jerry Brown and four coasters from the sheriff-coroner of Santa Barbara.