A commemorative statue of Diana, the Princess of Wales, was unveiled in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace by her sons, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, in a small ceremony on what would have been her 60th birthday.
The princes, who were respectively 15 and 12 years old when their mother was killed in a car accident in Paris, commissioned the sculpture in 2017 to mark the 20th anniversary of her death. Artist Ian Rank-Broadley was later selected to complete the work.
The nearly life-size, cast bronze sculpture shows Diana standing surrounded by three children, alluding to her devoted advocacy for children around the world. In front of the statue is an inscription from the poem “The Measure of a Man” which was included at her memorial service.
“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,” the brothers 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 legacy.”
While the artist behind the work, Rank-Broadley, is best-known for his male nude bronzes, he also designed the likeness Queen Elizabeth currently used on British and Commonwealth coinage, as well as that of Prince Philip for a recently released limited-edition £5 coin commemorating his life. Whether this new statue truly does justice to the famed elegance and beauty of the late princess is a matter up for debate.
The new statue is the second memorial to the late princess in London. The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain was opened in Hyde Park in 2004.
Ahead of today’s unveiling, the Sunken Garden underwent a significant redesign, with more than 4,000 flowers planted including roses, tulips, lavender, dahlias, sweet peas, and— the late princess’s favorite flower—forget-me-nots. The thousand-hour endeavor was led by landscape architect Pip Morrison.
The garden is known to have been one of the princess’s favorite spots at her former home, Kensington Palace, where she lived following her divorce from Prince Charles. The palace is now home to Prince William’s family. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, posed for their engagement photos in the garden.
Close attention has been paid to the unveiling as the brothers have been publicly at odds since Prince Harry and Markle stepped down from official royal duties in March of 2020. The brothers last saw each other in April at the funeral of their grandfather, Prince Philip.