William and Harry unveil Diana statue at Kensington Palace
The sons of Diana, Princess of Wales have unveiled a long-awaited statue of her in Kensington Palace.
In the shadow of their mother’s likeness cast in bronze, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex put on a united front. With Diana’s siblings watching, William and Harry pulled away a cloth covering the monument that will remind visitors to the palace, her former home, about its most famous resident.
The figure of the princess, who would have celebrated her 60th birthday on Thursday, is flanked by three children and depicts Diana in the later years of her life.
Kensington Palace said the statue reflected Diana’s “warmth, elegance and energy”, while the children represented the “universality and generational impact of the princess’s work”.
It added: “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 royal brothers made no speeches during the ceremony but in a joint statement said: “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 for ever as a symbol of her life and her legacy.”
The sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley’s artwork was erected in the Sunken Garden, one of the places Diana loved most at the palace. The space has been redesigned during the past two years and features more than 4,000 individual flowers, including forget-me-nots, which the princess adored.
The artist said: “Diana, Princess of Wales was an icon who touched the lives of people around the world so it has been a privilege to work alongside Prince William and Prince Harry on this statue which commemorates her life.
“We wanted to capture her warmth and humanity, while showcasing the impact she had across generations. I hope people will enjoy visiting the statue and the Sunken Garden, and taking a moment to remember the princess.”
In front of the statue is a paving stone engraved with an extract inspired by the poem The Measure of a Man: “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?’”
Covid restrictions reduced the number of guests to 13 and most were gathered between the garden’s side entrance and the statue, erected at the end of a large rectangular ornamental pond.
Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, was joined at the ceremony by the princess’s sisters, Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale.