July 31, 2021

William and Harry reunite at Diana statue unveiling

Princes William and Harry put aside their differences to appear together Thursday to unveil a statue honoring their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace.

The statue — which was originally commissioned in 2017 on the 20th anniversary of her death — was revealed at an afternoon ceremony on what would have been Diana’s 60th birthday.

Her sons put on a united front at Thursday’s event, entering the garden in conversation together before making their way over to greet their aunts and uncle — their mother’s siblings Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Lady Jane Fellowes and Earl Spencer. Also in attendance was the statue’s sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, garden designer Pip Morrison as well as members of the statue committee.

The brothers then walked over to statue draped in a green covering before pulling away the cloth to reveal their mother’s image cast in bronze. The pair took a few moments with one of their aunts to admire the new installation before rejoining other guests. Neither the Duke of Cambridge nor the Duke of Sussex gave a speech during the ceremony.

William and Harry paid tribute to Diana in a joint statement released through Kensington Palace following the low-key event, saying: “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.

“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 continued before thanking the team and donors involved in the long-awaited project.

The highly anticipated engagement was the first time the brothers have been seen together publicly since the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April. William and Harry lived at Kensington Palace with their mother before she died in a car crash in 1997.

While much has been made of the pair’s fractured relationship, the two seemed at ease during the event, warmly greeting guests and sharing jokes with the small group of attendees.

Kensington Palace said: “The figure of Diana, Princess of Wales is surrounded by three children who represent the universality and generational impact of The Princess’ work.

“The portrait and style of dress was based on the final period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes and aims to convey her character and compassion,” the palace statement added.
An extract from the poem “The Measure of a Man” — which featured in the 2007 memorial service for the princess — is engraved on a paving stone in front of the statue.

Rank-Broadley, whose previous work with royals includes an effigy of the Queen on UK coins, called Diana “an icon who touched the lives of people right around the world.”
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The artist said it was “a privilege” to collaborate with William and Harry on the piece, in which they aimed to “capture her warmth and humanity while showcasing the impact she had across generations.”