A tragic accident in Paris in 1997 decided otherwise, but normally England and the world celebrated Diana’s sixty springs today. In honor of their mum, sons William and Harry unveil a statue to the Princess of Wales in the garden of Kensington Palace.
It will be their first private meeting since Harry moved to the US and that the feud is still raging, as evidenced by their demand to speak separately. However, there is hope that both Princes, in the shadow of their mother, will finally bury the hatchet in the spot they had completely rebuilt in Lady Diana’s honor.
August 31, 1997. The whole world holds its breath when it turns out that Diana is involved in a car accident in Paris. The Princess of Wales and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed were on the run from paparazzi when her car crashed into a tunnel at the Pont de l’Alma. The couple did not survive the blow. Diana’s sons, William and Harry, were barely fifteen and twelve at the time.
Nearly 24 years later, the brothers want to honor their mother with an iconic statue. That will be unveiled today in the Sunken Garden, a part of the gardens of Kensington Palace, the current residence of William and Kate Middleton.
The memorial site is located right in their backyard. According to her family, Diana used to live in the palace, and the gardens were her favorite place. “The princes hope the statue will help remind all visitors of their mother’s life and legacy,” the joint announcement said. “Everything had to be perfect, down to the tiniest blade of grass.”
Already in 2017 – on the 20th anniversary of her death – the Sunken Garden was first transformed into a beautiful tribute to Diana, displaying her favorite flowers, such as forget-me-nots, white lilies, and daisies.
In the same year, the brothers announced their plans to have a statue built in their mother’s honor to “recognize her positive impact”. The project was originally scheduled to be unveiled later that year but plans changed, and a new date was set in August 2020: Lady Di’s 60th birthday.
Also, this year, the garden was neatly redesigned so that all the flowers would be in bloom at the time of the commemoration.
The sculptor on duty is the renowned Ian Rank-Broadley, whose portrait of the Queen appears on all British coins. “Ian is an extremely gifted sculptor, and we know he will pay a fitting and lasting tribute to our mother,” the brothers said.
Although a large ceremony was normally planned, it could not take place due to the corona crisis. So it will be a small gathering with Lady Di’s close family, members of the statue committee, the sculptor, and the garden designer. An arrangement that suits them, given the feud between Harry and the rest of the royal family. That way, they can keep the media attention within bounds.
Unfortunately for Charles, his popularity with the British people always plummets when there’s an event around Diana, so you’d be fleeing the area for less. Finally, Williams’s wife, Kate Middleton, will not show up either. Before the official event, she was allowed to admire the memorial with her children George (7), Charlotte (6), and Louis (3).
Feud in the spotlight
Much has changed in the lives of the British royals since Diana’s death. From the Megxit to the interview, everything is just about a reason to argue, even the commemoration of their mom’s 60th birthday. For example, the brothers had agreed not to speak about her publicly after the twentieth anniversary of her death, but Harry has done nothing else since then.
Both sons have made efforts for this ultimate tribute. And so – as is often the case with monuments – there will be a truce when they are unveiled. The hatchet is covered but far from buried. For example, the brothers insist on giving separate speeches instead of addressing the people together—a style break with their previous performances.
The feud between the two brothers will, therefore, undoubtedly attract attention during the commemoration. “All eyes will be on them, not Diana,” royalty expert Robert Lacey told the DailyMail. “Both brothers will undoubtedly regret that.”