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Diana statue unveiling brings Prince Harry and Prince William together


Princes William and Harry put aside their differences to show up together on Thursday to unveil a statue honoring their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, in Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace.

The statue – which was originally commissioned in 2017 to mark the 20th anniversary of his death – was revealed in an afternoon ceremony on the occasion of what would have been the 60th anniversary by Diana.

Her sons came together at Thursday’s event, entering the garden in conversation together before walking up to their aunts and uncle – their mother’s siblings, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Lady Jane Fellowes and Earl Spencer . Statue sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, garden designer Pip Morrison and members of the statue committee were also in attendance.

The brothers then walked over to the statue draped in a green covering before removing the fabric to reveal the image of their mother cast in bronze. The couple took a few moments with one of their aunts to admire the new facility before joining the other guests. Neither the Duke of Cambridge nor the Duke of Sussex gave a speech at the ceremony.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (left), and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, unveil a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, at Sunken Garden in Kensington Palace, London on July 1. Credit: Dominic Lipinski / Pool / AFP / Getty Images

William and Harry paid tribute to Diana in a joint statement released by Kensington Palace following the low-key event, saying: “Today, on the occasion of our mother’s 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character – qualities that have made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better.

“Every day, we want her to be still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be forever considered a symbol of her life and her legacy”, they continued before thanking the team and the donors. involved in the long-awaited project.

Diana statue unveiling brings Prince Harry and Prince William together

A gardener makes the final preparations for the space before the statue is unveiled. Credit: Aaron Chown / PA Images / Getty Images

The long-awaited engagement marked the first time the brothers had been seen together in public since the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April. William and Harry lived at Kensington Palace with their mother before she died in a car crash in 1997.

Although much was said about the couple’s fractured relationship, the two seemed at ease during the event, warmly greeting guests and sharing jokes with the small group of attendees.

Kensington Palace said: “The figure of Diana, Princess of Wales is surrounded by three children who represent the universality and generational impact of the Princess’s work.

“The portrait and dress style were based on the last period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes and aimed to convey her character and compassion,” the palace statement added.

An excerpt from the poem “The Measure of a Man” – which featured in the 2007 memorial service for the princess – is engraved on a paving stone in front of the statue.

Diana statue unveiling brings Prince Harry and Prince William together

Diana on a ski vacation with her two sons, William (left) and Harry (right) in 1993. Credit: Jayne Fincher / Princess Diana Archives / Getty Images

Rank-Broadley, whose previous work with the Royal Family includes an effigy of the Queen on British coins, called Diana an “icon who touched the lives of people around the world.”

The artist said it was “a privilege” to collaborate with William and Harry on the piece, in which they aimed to “capture her warmth and humanity while showing the impact she has had across generations. “.

One of Diana’s Favorite Places

The landscaping and planting plan surrounding the new statue was developed by Morrison and produced by the Garden and Estates team at Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), a charity that manages several royal properties.

Morrison incorporated the garden’s existing historic structures with deep flower borders and generous lawns around the pool “to create a calmer, more reflective setting for the statue,” according to Kensington Palace.

Work began on the site in October 2019 and since then five gardeners have spent a total of 1,000 hours working on the space.

More than 4,000 flowers were selected for the project, some of which were known to be Diana’s favorites, such as forget-me-nots, as well as spring and summer flowers in various pastel hues such as tulips, dahlias, and flowering plants. lavender.

Diana statue unveiling brings Prince Harry and Prince William together

The recently redesigned Sunken Garden is pictured in this image courtesy of Kensington Palace. Credit: Kensington Palace / Getty Images

Ahead of the unveiling, Morrison said in a Kensington Palace statement that “it was a very special project to work on as the Sunken Garden was Diana, Princess of Wales’ favorite place.” He added that the team focused on creating a space that would flatter the new artwork and provide a calming space for visitors.

Graham Dillamore, deputy director of gardens and estates at HRP, said in the same statement that Diana “regularly admired the changing flower displays in the Sunken Garden” and often stopped to speak with the gardeners who took care of them.

“More than three decades later, I am honored to have been part of the team preparing the garden for the installation of this statue,” he continued, adding “I hope visitors to the palace and gardens will appreciate its peaceful setting and will take a moment to reflect on the life and legacy of the princess. “

Diana statue unveiling brings Prince Harry and Prince William together

The brothers unveil the statue they commissioned to mark the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. Credit: Dominic Lipinski / Pool / AP

Broken fraternal bonds

The return to the gardens of their childhood home was a poignant moment for the brothers and came at a time when the royal family is under intense pressure.
A possible falling out between the two had been speculated in the media for years, but Harry finally confirmed their relationship had diverged in a 2019 documentary. “We’re definitely on different paths right now,” Harry said, adding : “But I will always be there for him, and as I know, he will always be there for me.”
Diana statue unveiling brings Prince Harry and Prince William together

William and Harry arrive for the unveiling of the statue on the occasion of their mother’s 60th birthday. Credit: Yui Muk / AP

In the years since the statue’s commission and Harry’s frank confession, their fractured relationship has only deteriorated further. Harry got married and started a family with his wife Meghan. The brothers then separated their common Royal Foundation. And the Sussexes have since chosen to relocate to another continent to escape the endless media intrusion they say they have faced, as well as their experience of racism within the Royal Family and lack of support from the royal house.

Things don’t appear to have improved between the brothers and the royal family at large following the Sussexes’ explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in March.
In a subsequent podcast appearance, Harry spoke in more detail about his royal upbringing describing it as a cycle of “pain and suffering” before appearing to disparage his father’s parenting efforts.
Diana statue unveiling brings Prince Harry and Prince William together

William and Harry were last seen together at their grandfather’s funeral in April. Credit: Gareth Fuller / WPA Pool / Getty Images

Where is the queen this week?

A return to British soil will likely be difficult for Harry who recently revealed in his AppleTV + series that London was previously a mental health “trigger” for him following the death of his mother.

But it has remained busy since landing in the British capital at the end of last week. The United States is on the UK’s ‘amber’ list, which means it had to self-quarantine upon arrival and perform a series of negative Covid-19 tests to free itself.

Once cleared, Harry rushed to surprise sick children with an appearance at the WellChild Awards – a charity he is a patron of – at Kew Gardens, west London, on Wednesday. Before that, while self-isolating at his Frogmore Cottage residence in Windsor, Harry had sent a video message to this year’s Diana Award recipients, an organization that prioritizes young people and change.

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, was not at the event on Thursday and instead remained in California after giving birth to the couple’s second child, Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor just a few weeks ago.

Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, whose childhood nickname was Lilibet, while her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honor her grandmother, the couple said in a statement. . Baby Lili is the sister of the couple’s 2-year-old son Archie Harrison.

Meanwhile, the few days were also busy for William who started the week in Scotland by accompanying the Queen on a series of events. The 95-year-old ruler traditionally takes on a week of engagements in the country in late June or early July each year to celebrate Scottish community, innovation and history.

On Tuesday, the Duke of Cambridge – who is president of the English Football Association – joined thousands of English football fans, including his wife Catherine and son Prince George, at Wembley Stadium to witness the country’s stunning victory at Euro 2020 against Germany.

The garden and the new statue of Diana will be accessible free of charge during the opening hours of the historic royal palaces.

The Sunken Garden was established in 1908 at the instigation of King Edward VII, in an area of ​​the palace gardens previously occupied by potting sheds and greenhouses. The garden layout is inspired by the 17th-century Dutch-style Pond Garden at Hampton Court Palace.

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