Prince Harry and Prince William today set aside their own differences to unveil a statue as a permanent memorial to their beloved mother on what would have been her 60th birthday as hundreds who loved the ‘People’s Princess’ gathered in vigil outside Kensington Palace.
The brothers were pictured standing shoulder-to-shoulder before revealing a statue created in Princess Diana’s honor by Ian Rank-Broadley and placed in the remodeled Sunken Garden, a place of solace and safety for her before she died in 1997.
The bronze made by Ian Rank-Broadley shows Diana with her arms around two children, and towered over the brothers as they revealed it to the world this afternoon.
In a joint statement The Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex said: ‘Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy.’ They added: ‘Today, on what would have been our Mother’s 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character – qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better’.
“Thank you to Ian Rank-Broadley, Pip Morrison and their teams for their outstanding work, to the friends and donors who helped make this happen, and to all those around the world who keep our mother’s memory alive.”
Before the event, William appeared to be talking earnestly to his brother, who looked serious as they walked towards the ceremony in an area packed with 4,000 of Diana’s most-loved flowers and plants surrounding a rectangular pool of water.
Commissioned by the brothers in 2017 to memorialize their mother and mark the twentieth anniversary of her death, Kensington Palace said the princes ‘wanted the statue to recognize her positive impact in the UK and around the world, and help future generations understand the significance of her place in history’.
‘The statue aims to reflect the warmth, elegance and energy of Diana, Princess of Wales, in addition to her work and the impact she had on so many people,’ it added. Pictured: The Duke of Sussex (left) and the Duke of Cambridge (second right) greet their aunts Lady Sarah McCorquodale (second left) and Lady Jane Fellowes (right) with kisses.
The portrait and style of dress featured was based on the ‘final period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes’, they said. It added that the statue ‘aims to convey her character and compassion’. Beneath the statue is a plinth engraved with the Princess’ name and the date of the unveiling.
In front of it is a paving stone engraved with an extract after the poem The Measure of A Man by Albert Schweitzer, which was read at the 2017 memorial service marking the 20th anniversary of her death. It read: ‘These are the units to measure the worth Of this woman as a woman regardless of birth. Not what was her station? But had she a heart? How did she play her God-given part?’ Pictured: Harry also spoke to Earl Spencer, his mother’s brother, at the Spencer-dominated event.
The brothers, who have been split by Harry’s decision to leave the UK, were seen chatting in the grounds of Kensington Palace moments before the grand unveiling. But what had originally been planned as a large celebration to mark her life has now been classed as a ‘private event’ – largely due to bad blood between the brothers and Harry’s determination to control media coverage.
They put their personal animosity to one side this afternoon at the private ceremony, which started at 2pm, and saw Diana’s sons gather along with the princess’ siblings The Earl Spencer, The Lady Sarah McCorquodale, and The Lady Jane Fellowes, in addition to the Statue Committee, the sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, garden designer Pip Morrison and Chair of Historic Royal Palaces, Rupert Gavin.
Hundreds of mourners gathered outside from dawn with Diana’s fans traveling from all over the UK to west London for the poignant commemorative event today, with Harry arriving at 1.45pm – just 15 minutes before the grand unveiling.
The brothers are said to have barely spoken and have an ‘incredibly strained’ relationship after two years of rows over Harry’s wife and her alleged treatment of staff, the couple’s decision to emigrate to America and the tonnes of ‘truth bombs’ the Sussexes have dropped in TV interviews watched by tens of millions of people around the world. Pictured: Prince Harry is driven into Kensington Palace through the side entrance as he and Prince William unveil the Diana statue.
Harry and Meghan believe they were abandoned by the Royal Family, even accusing them of racism towards Archie and ignoring their cries for help when the Duchess of Sussex felt lonely and had poor mental health while pregnant in London. Pictured: Prince Harry at a charity event yesterday.
Omid Scobie, the Sussexes’ preferred royal reporter, has played down the idea of a public reconciliation when they unveil the statue this afternoon. Harry and William have been working together on the project since 2017 – but Mr Scobie has said they both vehemently believe today is about their mother – and not them.
Scobie said: ‘What we will see is two brothers being professional in a moment that is not about them. This is going to be a moment we see them put everything to one side. We will just see professionalism and nothing else’.
The Diana statue had been in situ for more than a week after being lifted into a crate during the early hours of the morning. The much-anticipated sculpture had been boxed up and hidden away from prying eyes in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace.
The Daily Mail understands Harry and William had been in contact in recent days ahead of today’s unveiling of a statue in memory of their late mother Diana.
They are even said to have exchanged a few phone messages over England’s win on Tuesday. While insiders are quick to stress that it is far from a full-scale rapprochement, it is the most positive sign yet that the estranged brothers will be able to put their differences to one side
– for today, at least. Pictured: Charles Spencer, brother of Britain’s Princess Diana, arrives with sisters Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes.
William, who is president of the Football Association, attended the match at Wembley with wife Kate and their football-mad eldest son George.
Royal insiders have also told the Mail that Harry, 36, has been told how much the family had been hoping to see his two-year-old son Archie again and look forward to his return to the UK soon. It is believed the Cambridges have seen Archie only once or twice since he was born.
Pictured: Mourners gather at the gates of Kensington Palace today to mark what would have been Diana’s 60th birthday. Royal fan John Loughrey poses with balloons as supporters gather to mark what would have been the 60th birthday of Princess Diana.
Royal fan John Loughrey drinks a toast in front of the gates. Diana super fan Anne Daley travelled all the way from Cardiff to get to London today. A member of the public leaves a tribute to Princess Diana outside the ‘Golden Gates’ at Kensington Palace.
This note left with flowers, pictures and flags remembered Diana’s special smile, face and their memories of her. Crowds began to build ahead of the unveiling at 2pm.
Pedestrians look at wreaths and pictures attached to the gates of Kensington Palace to celebrate what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday – a poignant day for her sons. Friends hold homemade banners wishing Diana a happy birthday and declaring their love for her.
Her sons Princes William and Harry have worked closely with the team at Kensington Palace to re-design the garden, filling it with glorious scented blooms loved by their adored mother.
The redesigned Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, home to the new Diana, Princess of Wales statue, which has been filled with more than 4,000 flowers and offers a ‘calmer and more reflective setting’.
The statue unveiling is three and a half years overdue, in large part due to the collapse in relations between the brothers. Royal fan John Loughrey poses for a picture outside Kensington Palace.
The world’s media has gathered, but the ceremony was limited to one film crew and one photographer. Paintings of Diana from the Excellence in Education Charity in Lagos which Diana visited – with a picture of her with her two sons.
A jogger passes the gates of Kensington Palace as he runs through the gardens towards Hyde Perk. Today the brothers will be reunited for the unveiling of a statue of their beloved mother. Flowers spelling out her name have been placed at the gate with banners and pictures.