Princes William and Harry unveil a new statue of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday.

Dominic Lipinski / Pool / AFP for Getty Images

Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car accident in Paris in 1997 at just 36 years old. To mark what would have been her 60th birthday, her sons unveiled a statue of her at her former home, Kensington Palace in London, in a private ceremony Thursday.

‚ÄúToday, on the occasion of what would have been our mother’s 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character – qualities that made her a force for good in the whole world, improving countless lives “, Guillaume and Harry said in a joint statement. The statue depicts an imposing Diana, flanked by children who represent her global charitable work.

Thanks to all headlines and buzz about the royal family lately, it wasn’t just an ordinary statue dedication. Here’s why.

The statue of Diane

Who made the sculpture?

Diana’s two sons commissioned the statue in 2017, the year that marked the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death. There have been other statues of the late princess – some are frightening – but with the approval of her sons, this one stands out above the rest. And with Diana, one of the most photographed people on the planet, the sculptor had a tough job.

This high pressure work fell to British sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, whose image of Queen Elizabeth II has appeared on all UK and Commonwealth coins since 1998. No images of the work have been produced. leaked, so Thursday’s reveal was the first time most people have seen the Statue of Diana.

At least one British historian, Tessa Dunlop, has criticized the choice of a male sculptor for the post, saying the failure to choose a female sculptor was a “missed opportunity”. She also noted that there was “certainly no doubt about Rank-Broadley’s talent.”

Flags remembering Diana at Kensington Palace

People place flags on the gates of Kensington Palace on June 30. Diana, Princess of Wales, would have turned 60 on July 1.

Aaron Chown / PA Images via Getty Images

Statue details

The statue is built larger than life, as you can see when William and Harry stand in front of it. There are three children depicted, although one is hidden behind the other, making it look like there are only two. And they’re not based on three specific children, but are meant to be universal.

“The figure of Diana, Princess of Wales, is surrounded by three children who represent the universality and the generational impact of the work of the princess,” according to a statement from Kensington Palace.

Diana is not wearing one of her iconic ball gowns, but a simple, classic, belted dress.

“The portrait and dress style were based on the last period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes and aimed to convey her character and compassion,” the statement said.

Diana’s name and the date of the unveiling are engraved on a stone under the statue. Another stone contains words from the poem The Measure of a Man, which was on the schedule for a 2007 memorial service for Diana. (The author of the poem is unknown, and the words have been changed from “man” and “he” to “woman” and “she” to Diana.)

The quote reads: “These are the units to measure the worth / of this woman as a woman regardless of her birth / Not what was her station? / But did she have a heart? / How did she get it? she played her role given by God? “

In the middle of forget-me-nots

The statue can be found in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, which would have been a special place for Diana. To mark the 20th anniversary of her death in 2017, the garden was replanted with white flowers, taking inspiration from Diana’s wardrobe. In preparation for the sculpture, over 4,000 individual flowers, including Diana’s favorite, forget-me-nots, were planted.

“Every day we want her to be with us again, and our hope is that this statue will be seen as a symbol of her life and legacy forever,” the brothers said Thursday.

Now that the statue has been unveiled, the public will be able to see it, as Kensington Palace and its gardens are open to visitors. The gardens are free to visit, although there is a fee for tours of the public areas of the palace itself.

Kensington Palace is the primary residence of Prince William and his family. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have also lived there for some time, and many other members of the royal family have made their home there. Diana and Prince Charles lived there after their marriage, raised their children there, and Diana lived there even after her divorce.

William and Harry’s relationship

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is second to the British throne after his father, Prince Charles. William was born to Charles and Diana in 1982, and his brother Harry followed in 1984. Harry was third to the throne when he was born, but William’s three children pushed him to sixth.


Diana, pictured here in March 1990, would have been 60 this year.

Jayne Fincher / Princess Diana Archives / Getty Images

The two brothers once seemed extremely close to each other and their mother. William was 15 when Diana died and Harry was 12. They seemed, at least publicly, to be best friends for years. But the tabloids have questioned whether Harry’s 2018 marriage to Markle and the couple’s subsequent move to California had created a wedge between the brothers. As heir to the throne, William must follow a carefully marked path for him, while, as a “spare” Harry is freer to decide his own future.

It doesn’t help that in March Harry and Meghan gave a explosive TV interview with Oprah Winfrey. Among other revelations that made headlines, Meghan said a member of the royal family was concerned about her unborn son’s skin color and that palace officials offered no help when the royal pressures had made her think about suicide. Surely it didn’t help that Meghan said Kate had made her cry during her wedding plans – William is known to be a strong supporter of his wife, and he absolutely didn’t like it being made public . William later had to specifically deny that the Royal Family were racist when they were questioned at an event.

The two brothers now seem to be on different paths. Vanity Fair reports that the two have discussed plans for the unveiling of the statue, but their relationship is still “very strained.”

On Thursday, the brothers presented a united front.

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