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British Royals

Tributes for Diana past and present

Following Diana, Princess of Wales’s untimely death in August 1997, thousands of flowers famously were placed in front of Kensington and Buckingham Palace. At Kensington, 60 million flowers were placed, spanning 30 feet from the gates. While those flowers are no longer there and it’s an idea of how much she meant to people, the tributes to Diana are everlasting.

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On the 20th anniversary of her death, Diana’s two sons, Princes William and Harry, commissioned a statue of the late Princess. Designed and executed by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, the statue was unveiled on Diana’s 60th birthday on 1 July 2021. The statue was placed in the Sunken Gardens, one of Diana’s favourite places on palace grounds.

The statue features Diana surrounded by three children to represent the “universality and generational impact” of her work. A paving stone in front of the statue features an extract by the Wallace Gallaher poem, The Measure of a Man. This was previously used to commemorate the 10th anniversary of her death in 2007.

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Also in 2007, on what would have been Diana’s 46th birthday, The Concert for Diana, a benefit concert was held in her honour at the then-newly built Wembley Stadium in London. Hosted by her sons, some of the world’s most famous entertainers performed, including Diana’s good friend, Elton John, Andrea Bocelli, and Take That. The concert was broadcast in 140 countries worldwide, with an estimated audience of 500 million. Proceeds from the show went to Diana’s charities, as well as ones of which William and Harry are patron.

This hasn’t been the only concert in her honour. A few days before what would have been her 37th birthday, 27 June 1998, a concert was held at Althrop Park in the Northamptonshire seat of the Spencer family, Diana’s childhood home. Among those who performed were Cliff Richard, Jimmy Ruffin, and Duran Duran. Fifteen thousand people attended, with proceeds going to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. The fund closed at the end of 2012 but had worked to continue her humanitarian work in the U.K. and overseas.

The Diana Award was established in 1998 to honour young people who work to improve the lives of others. It was launched by former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The charity helps keep Diana’s legacy of the belief that young people have the power to change the world.

At Diana’s funeral, Elton John famously changed the words of his song, Candle in the Wind, to honour his late friend. The revamped version of the song, originally about Marilyn Monroe, was known as Candle in the Wind 1997. The song won a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and was nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Single. Proceeds from the song went to Diana’s charities.

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While Kensington Palace has a statue of the late Princess, the surrounding Hyde Park has several tributes. The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain was opened in 2004 by Queen Elizabeth II. It’s located in the southwest corner of Hyde Park and near the Serpentine Gallery. The opening ceremony had brought the Windsors and Spencers together for the first time in seven years.

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Kensington Gardens is home to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground. It was erected on the existing Peter Pan children’s playground site but is larger and more elaborate than the original. The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk is also in this area, passing between Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park, and St James’s Park. Ninety individual plaques, each with a heraldic rose, mark the path.

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Two different flowers have been named after Diana. The Rosa ‘Princess of Wales’ is a white blend Floribunda rose cultivar bred by Harkness in the U.K. and was introduced in 1997. The Princess had received it as a tribute to her ten-year cooperation with the British Lung Foundation (BLF.) The rose was said to be one of Diana’s favourite flowers. Donations from sales between 1998 and 1999 were donated to the BLF. This is not to be confused with the Rosa ‘Diana, Princess of Wales’ – pink blend garden rose introduced in 1998 at the British Embassy in the United States. This flower is not sold in the U.K. to prevent competition between the two flowers.

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A copper statue, Innocent Victims, was on display at the Harrods department store in London from 2005 to 2018. The design features Diana and her boyfriend, who died in the crash, Dodi Fayed, and a large bird to symbolise “freedom and eternity.” Harrods was owned by Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al-Fayed. In January 2018, the statue was returned to the Al-Fayed family seven years after the business was sold to the Qatar Investment Authority.

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In Paris is the Place Diana, a public statue situated in the 16th arrondissement of Paris near the Seine River. The Place is just north of the Pont de l’Alma Tunnel, where Diana was killed in a car crash in August 1997. The space features the Flame of Liberty, a replica of the torch on the Statue of Liberty. The statue was erected in 1989 but was somewhat forgotten. Renewed interest came after the deadly crash as it happened below the monument.

In Vienna, Austria, there is a bust known as the Princess Diana Memorial in the garden of Cobenzl Castle.

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.