Princess Diana's sons William and Harry finally come together to unveil statue at Kensington Palace on their mother's 60th birthday

The froideur between Princes William and Harry has not left the headlines since it emerged that the once inseparable brothers had had a major rift.

The two Dukes stood shoulder to shoulder to mark the memory of their beloved mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, as a long-awaited statue was finally unveiled in the gardens of her treasured London home, Kensington Palace.
Picture: PA
The two Dukes stood shoulder to shoulder to mark the memory of their beloved mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, as a long-awaited statue was finally unveiled in the gardens of her treasured London home, Kensington Palace. Picture: PA

But today the two Dukes stood shoulder to shoulder to mark the memory of their beloved mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, as a long-awaited statue was finally unveiled in the gardens of her treasured London home, Kensington Palace.

And in a now rare joint statement after the unveiling, the Princes came together to pay tribute to Diana, saying they hope the statue will “be seen forever as a symbol of her life and legacy.”

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Prince William and Prince Harry 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 this statue be seen forever as a symbol of her life and legacy.”

The monument, designed by Ian Rank-Broadley, shows the late Princess, who would have celebrated her 60th birthday yesterday, cast in bronze and surrounded by three children .

It depicts the Princess in the later years of her life after her divorce from Prince Charles, where she turned her attention to humanitarian causes including raising awareness of HIV/AIDS and the landmine crisis.

Kensington Palace said the statue aims to reflect Diana's "warmth, elegance and energy", while the children represent 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 princes praised both Mr Rank-Broadley, and Pip Morrison, who has redesigned the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, which has been filled with more than 4000 flowers carefully chosen to reflect the taste of the late Princess.

They said: “Thank you to Ian Rank-Broadley, Pip Morrison and their teams for their outstanding work, to the friends and donors who helped make this happen, and to all those around the world who help keep our mother’s memory alive.”

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?'"

Shortly before the unveiling, Diana’s siblings Earl Spencer, Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquedale were pictured walking through Kensington Gardens, where crowds had gathered to lay flowers and tributes to the Princess, who died in August 1997.

Lady Sarah was a member of the six-strong committee tasked with commissioning and privately raising funds for the creation of the statue, alongside Julia Samuel, a godparent of Prince George who was a close friend of the princess.

It was chaired by Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the brothers' former principal private secretary, and its members advised on the selection of the sculptor and worked with Historic Royal Palaces on the statue's installation.

The committee were in attendance at the unveiling, but the scope with many of Diana's friends and colleagues unable to attend due to Covid regulations.

Prince William's wife the Duchess of Cambridge did not attend, and nor did any of the late Princess’s grandchildren.

And Prince Harry’s wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, did not join her husband for the ceremony, having given birth to the couple’s second child last month in California.

They named their daughter Lilibet Diana in a tribute to both her grandmother and her great-grandmother.