On what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday on Thursday, Prince William and Prince Harry reunited to pay tribute to their late mother.
On July 1, the brothers unveiled a statue of Diana in Kensington Palace, the Princess’s royal residence in London.
The statue stands in the re-designed Sunken Garden, one of Diana’s treasured havens on the palace grounds.
Acclaimed artist Ian Rank-Broadley created the sculpture, in consultation with William and Harry.
Though tensions have been high between the royal siblings, following the bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview with Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, in March, the brothers united to release a joint statement.
“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,” William and 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,” – Prince William and Prince Harry said in a statement
“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.”
Harry planned to immediately return to his home in California following the ceremony, to be with Meghan and the couple’s newborn daughter, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.
Legacy of caring
The sculpture depicts Diana with three children, reflecting the Princess’s legacy of supporting children and others in need around the world.
“The statue aims to reflect the warmth, elegance and energy of Diana, Princess of Wales, in addition to her work and the impact she had on so many people,” a Kensington Palace statement read.
Diana was the patron of multiple humanitarian causes, including the Halo Trust (landmines) and Centrepoint (homelessness). She also changed the world’s perception of HIV/AIDS in 1987, by shaking hands, without gloves, with an AIDS patient. And she was the president of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. The Royal Marsden hospital treats childhood cancers.
“Warmth and humanity”
Also in attendance at the unveiling were Diana’s siblings: Earl Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, and Lady Jane Fellowes.
Sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley and garden designer Pip Morrison also attended.
“We wanted to capture her warmth and humanity while showcasing the impact she had across generations,” said Rank-Broadley, who has depicted the likeness of Queen Elizabeth on UK and Commonwealth coins since 1998.
“I hope that people will enjoy visiting the statue and the Sunken Garden, and taking a moment to remember The Princess.”
Rank-Broadley explained that he felt that if the princess was depicted on her own “she might appear isolated,” he said. “And one of the things that came across in talking to her friends and family was she was such a friendly and gregarious person, and she had a particular warmth for children.”
“She had a particular warmth for children,” – sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley on why Princess Diana was depicted with other figures
The statue is surrounded by Diana’s favourite flowers – 500 lavender plants, 300 tulips, 200 roses and 100 forget-me-nots.
Her “God-given part”
Beneath the statue is a stone inscribed with a modified verse from the poem A Measure of a Man. (The poem is normally attributed to “anonymous”, but it is believed to have been written by Wallace Gallagher.)
The poem featured at a memorial service for Diana in 2007. The verse reads:
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?