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British Royals

How William and Harry remembered their mother at poignant statue ceremony

William and Harry at statue unveiling
i-Images/ Pool

On what would have been Diana, Princess of Wales’s 60th birthday, her sons Prince William and Prince Harry have unveiled a statue of their mother in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace. The gardens were one of Diana’s favourite places in the palace grounds and she would regularly admire the changing floral displays and talk to the gardeners who cared for them.

Since 2019, five gardeners have spent a total of 1000 hours working on planting more than 4000 individual flowers, representing Diana’s favourites. This includes over 200 roses of five varieties including Ballerina and Blush Noisette, over 500 lavender plants and over 400m of short-cut turf. The display wouldn’t be complete without Diana’s favorite flowers, forget-me-nots, and more than 100 have been planted in her honour.

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The bronze statue sculpted by Ian Rank-Broadley is 1.25x life-size. Beneath the statue is a plinth engraved with Diana’s name and the date of the unveiling. A stone can also be found in front of the statue with an extract from the poem The Measure of a Man, featured in the programme for the 2007 memorial service for the Princess.

“These are the things that measure the worth, Of a woman as a woman, regardless of birth. “Not – What was his station? But – had she a heart? And – How did she play her God-given part?”

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The unveiling was a small and intimate affair. Joining William and Harry were Diana’s siblings: The Earl Spencer, The Lady Sarah McCorquodale, and The Lady Jane Fellowes, in addition to the Statue Committee, sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, garden designer Pip Morrison, and Chair of Historic Royal Palaces, Rupert Gavin.

In a joint statement, 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 that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy.

They also had warm words for those who created the statue, saying 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.”

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The statue was commissioned by the brothers in 2017 to remember their mother and to mark the twentieth anniversary of her death. They wanted the statue to recognise her positive impact across the UK, and around the world as well as help future generations understand the significance of her place in history. The portrait and style of dress were based on the final period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes. Because of the global health crisis, the installation plans were pushed back.

The garden and statue of Diana, Princess of Wales has been arranged to be viewed from the Cradle Walk, an arched arbour of lime trees.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.