Prince Harry and Prince William today set aside their own differences to unveil a statue of their beloved mother on what would have been her 60th birthday and declared ‘every day, we wish she were still with us’ before the Duke of Sussex made a quick exit.
The brothers stood shoulder-to-shoulder before revealing a sculpture created in Princess Diana’s honour and placed in the remodelled Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, a place of solace and safety for her before she died in 1997.
The bronze made by Ian Rank-Broadley shows Diana with her arms around two children with another little boy following behind, and the image of their mother towered over the brothers as they revealed it to the world this afternoon surrounded by 4,000 of her favourite flowers.
Its design was top secret and appears to be inspired by Diana’s official 1993 Christmas card – her first sent without Prince Charles – where she wears the same open ribbed shirt, skirt and belt as she smiles lovingly at her two sons, who said today the statue reflects the ‘final period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes’.
In a joint statement The Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex released this afternoon, the brothers said: ‘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 added: ‘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. 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.’
The event originally planned as a large celebration to mark her life was changed to a ‘private event’ – largely due to bad blood between the brothers and Harry’s determination to control media coverage – and was only broadcast after it was over and the Duke of Sussex was leaving.
Harry smiled as he and William talked awkwardly while walking towards the Sunken Garden before turning their backs to the cameras and together pulling at a large green cloth to reveal the statue.