Princess Diana statue receives mixed reviews after unveiling by Harry and William

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Princes William and Harry have unveiled a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday.

But the artwork has received mixed reviews, with some critics and commentators labelling it “horrible” and questioning the reasoning behind one key feature.

Watch video of the unveiling above

The bronze statue, located in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, shows Diana during the “final period of her life” as she “gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes,” a statement says.

The late royal is surrounded by three anonymous children and is facing her former home.

Princes Harry and William unveiling a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales. Credit: Getty
The statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, is located in Kensington Palace’s Sunken Gardens.
The statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, is located in Kensington Palace’s Sunken Gardens. Credit: Getty

Harry and William, who commissioned the memorial in 2017, say they are delighted with how it turned out.

“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 pair said in a statement.

“Every day, we wish she were still here with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and legacy.”

Harry and William seen looking at the statue of their late mother.
Harry and William seen looking at the statue of their late mother. Credit: WPA Pool/Getty Images

But royal fans and commentators are not as impressed, with many questioning the design and why three anonymous children were included rather than Diana’s sons.

Rosie Campbell-Johnston from The Times said that “Princess Diana deserved something much better.”

“The statue has a devotional aura,” she wrote.

“Perhaps this is precisely what a wider public who all but worshipped the princess would want – which may in turn be precisely why this statue is, aesthetically speaking, so horrible.

Telegraph chief art critic Alastair Sooke said Diana looked “combative and confrontational, not maternal” in the work.

Controversial broadcaster Piers Morgan, who knew Lady Di, shared his disappointment on Twitter.

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Who are the kids?

Royal fans took to social media following the unveiling to seek clarification around who the tree children featured in the artwork are.

Many were confused about their purpose in the work and why Harry and William were not included instead.

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A palace statement says the youngsters “represent the “universality and generational impact of The Princess’ work.”

“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.”

Beneath the statue is a plinth engraved with Diana’s name and the date of the unveiling.

Prince Harry seen in front of the statue of his late mother.
Prince Harry seen in front of the statue of his late mother. Credit: Getty

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 programme 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?”

Sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley speaks to Princes William and Harry.
Sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley speaks to Princes William and Harry. Credit: Getty

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.

Diana on a ski vacation with her two sons, William (left) and Harry (right) in 1993.
Diana on a ski vacation with her two sons, William (left) and Harry (right) in 1993. Credit: Getty

“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.

William and Harry were last seen together at their grandfather’s funeral in April.
William and Harry were last seen together at their grandfather’s funeral in April. Credit: Getty

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.

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