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

To mark what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday, her sons unveiled a statue of her at her former home, Kensington Palace in London, in a private ceremony Thursday. The statue depicts an imposing Diana, flanked by children who represent her global charitable work.

‚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.

Thanks to all headlines and buzz about the royal family lately, it wasn’t just any ordinary statue dedication. Here’s more on what happened.

statue of diana

Who made the sculpture?

Princes William and Harry commissioned the statue in 2017, the year that marked the 20th anniversary of Diana’s tragic death in a 1997 car crash in Paris. 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 faced a difficult task.

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.”

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, which at first glance gives the impression that 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? “

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

The unveiling of the 60th anniversary

Diana’s two sons removed a green cloth from the statue to reveal it, and the press took and shared many photos, but only a small group was there to witness the unveiling in person. Diana’s two sisters, Sarah McCorquodale and Jane Fellowes, and her brother, Charles Spencer, were in attendance, but royals like Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and even the wives and children of the princes were not the.

William is said to have brought his wife, Kate, and their three children to see the statue earlier on a private tour. Harry’s wife Meghan recently gave birth to their second child – named Lilibet Diana in honor of his grandmother and mother – and is at home in California with new baby and son Archie, 2.

The princes did not deliver a speech at the inauguration, but instead issued a rare joint statement in remembrance of their late mother. But the BBC reports that the two “were seen laughing and talking animatedly with the guests,” and that the guests clapped when the statue was unveiled.

As the crowd inside the garden was small, members of the public gathered near the palace with signs and balloons marking Diana’s birthday. They were unable to attend the ceremony, but the garden will reopen to the public on Friday.

A large display left outside the palace read “PRINCESS DIANA 60” in white and pink flowers, placed under a large banner celebrating Diana.

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 complicated 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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