Harry, William honor Princess Diana with statue: ‘We wish she were still with us’
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, reunited Thursday morning in London to unveil a statue they commissioned in honor of what would have been their mother Princess Diana’s 60th birthday.
The larger-than-life sculpture, located on the lush grounds of Kensington Palace, depicts the late Princess of Wales “surrounded by three children who represent the universality and generational impact of The Princess’ work,” according to a statement from the palace. Diana was born July 1, 1961, and died in August 1997.
“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,” Harry and William said in a joint statement.
“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. Thank you ... to all those around the world who keep our mother’s memory alive.”
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Before removing a large, green covering to reveal the statue, Harry and William walked the perimeter of the garden together, chatting and laughing while greeting relatives and other attendees. The bronze figure, ordered by the brothers in 2017 to recognize the 20th anniversary of their mother’s death, was sculpted by Ian Rank-Broadley.
“Diana, Princess of Wales was an icon who touched the lives of people right around the world, so it has been a privilege to work alongside Prince William and Prince Harry on this statue which commemorates her life,” Rank-Broadley said in a statement.
“We wanted to capture her warmth and humanity while showcasing the impact she had across generations. I hope that people will enjoy visiting the statue and the Sunken Garden, and taking a moment to remember The Princess.”
The statue ceremony marks the royal brothers’ first joint public engagement since the funeral for their grandfather, Prince Philip, who died in April at age 99.
Prince William and his brother, Prince Harry, are seen walking and chatting together after the service for their grandfather Prince Philip.
Additionally, the event was one of the siblings’ most significant joint appearances since CBS aired Oprah Winfrey’s watershed interview with Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. During their intimate conversation with the TV mogul, the royal couple reflected on their landmark decision to step back as senior members of the royal family and relocate to Meghan’s home state of California.
While speaking with Winfrey, the duke and duchess of Sussex also accused an unnamed member of the British crown of expressing concerns about the skin color of their son, Archie, before he was born. In response to the bombshell interview, William defended his loved ones before the press, insisting, “We’re very much not a racist family.”
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Despite longstanding rumors of estrangement, the pair of princes appeared to enjoy each other’s company while paying tribute to their mother this week by showcasing the work of art — engraved with an excerpt from the poem “The Measure of a Man,” which was included in the program for a 2007 memorial service for Diana.
“These are the units to measure the worth / Of this woman as a woman regardless of birth,” a paving stone underneath the sculpture reads. “Not what was her station? / But had she a heart? / How did she play her God-given part?”
Representatives for Kensington Palace, where Harry and William grew up with their mother, issued a press release Thursday elaborating on the significance of the latest addition to its Sunken Garden:
“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 said.
The sculpture of Diana will be free for public viewing during Kensington’s hours of operation, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, in London.
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