Princes William and Harry have put their differences aside to unveil a statue honouring their late mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday.
The scaled-back event at Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden was held privately, with photos, video and a press statement released to the public.
Watch the video above
Harry and William were seen laughing and talking with guests, who applauded as the brothers pulled off a green cloth covering the statue.
“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,” the siblings said on Thursday.
“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,” they added.
The Sunken Garden, which is said to be one of Diana’s favourite places at the Palace where she lived after her marriage to Prince Charles, was given a revamp ahead of the unveiling.
Among the changes was the planting of thousands of new flowers, including 100 forget-me-nots, which were Diana’s favourite.
Statue sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley and garden redesigner Pip Morrison were in attendance at the unveiling, as well as Diana’s two sisters and her brother.
“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 keep our mother’s memory alive,” Harry and William said.
The statue of Diana is surrounded by three children who represent the “universality and generational impact of The Princess’ work,” according to Kensington Palace.
“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,” a statement reads.
Beneath the statue is a plinth engraved with Diana’s name and the date of the unveiling.
In front of the statue is a paving stone engraved with an extract after the poem The Measure of A Man which featured in the program for the 2007 memorial service for the princess.
“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?”
In his own statement, sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley described Diana as “an icon who touched the lives of people right around the world” and said it was “a privilege to work alongside Prince William and Prince Harry” on the work.
“We wanted to capture her warmth and humanity while showcasing the impact she had across generations,” he wrote.
Watch the sculptor describe the statue in the video below
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The statue is open for the public to view and pay their respects to the late princess following her shock 1997 death following a Paris car crash
“I hope that people will enjoy visiting the statue and the Sunken Garden, and taking a moment to remember the princess,” Rank-Broadley added.
Harry and Will reunited
The highly anticipated engagement was the first time the brothers have been seen together publicly since the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April.
Diana’s sons co-commissioned the piece in 2017 – the 20th anniversary of her death – as they wanted to recognise the impact of her life with a permanent statue.
“Our mother touched so many lives. We hope the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on her life and her legacy,” the pair said in a joint statement announcing the project.
They had hoped to unveil the statue that same year, but the project was delayed.
Brotherly bonds broken
The reunion between the once-close siblings at their childhood home comes two years after Harry confirmed media speculation their relationship had broken down.
The Duke of Sussex said “we are certainly on different paths at the moment” in a 2019 documentary.
In the years since the statue was commissioned, Harry has married, started a family with wife Meghan, stepped down from his royal as a senior working royal and moved to the United States.
The brothers were said to not be on speaking terms in the wake of the Sussexes’ explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in March.
However their smiley appearance at the unveiling has sparked hopes they are on a path to making amends.