Prince Harry and Prince William put aside their well-publicized differences Thursday, uniting to unveil a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, at one of her favorite places, the Sunken Garden in the grounds of Kensington Palace.
Diana, wearing a shirt, fitted skirt, and wide belt with a prominent buckle, was depicted with her arms around three young children in the statue. Kensington Palace said in a statement that the likeness was based on the “final period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes.”
The statue plinth is engraved with an extract from the poem The Measure of a Man by Albert Schweitzer, which was read at Diana’s 2017 memorial, reading: “These are the units to measure the worth of this woman as a woman regardless of birth. Not what was her station? But had she a heart? How did she play her God-given part?”
The brothers were shoulder to shoulder and looked relaxed as they walked together out of Kensington Palace, where they joined a small group of their Spencer relatives and the artist who created the piece, Ian Rank-Broadley.
The brothers smiled and as they chatted with Diana’s sisters and brother.
There were no speeches. However in a joint statement, the brothers described their mother as “a force for good” and said they hoped the statue would keep their mother’s memory alive.
They added: “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.”
Neither Prince Charles nor the queen were present. Although they have never sought to actively block the erection of a memorial to Diana, who died in 1997, neither has endorsed it. Kate Middleton did not attend.
Today’s unveiling—on what would have been Diana’s 60th birthday—was the first time that the brothers had been pictured together since Prince Philip’s funeral in April, and comes after more than a year of bitter and public argument between Harry’s family and the monarchy, which culminated in Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, accusing an unnamed royal of asking racist questions about their children’s likely skin color in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The palace has not answered the allegations in detail beyond issuing a statement saying “recollections may vary.” Prince William subsequently told reporters the Windsors were “very much not a racist family.”
The brothers were reported to have exchanged friendly text messages in recent days on the subject of the England soccer team’s victory over archrival Germany.
Kensington Palace said that the public will be able to view the statue and the Sunken Garden from Kensington Park.
The garden itself has been completely redesigned and planted with some of Diana’s favorite flowers, including forget-me-nots, roses, and tulips.
The redesign was overseen by designer Pip Morrison and the Historic Royal Palaces’ deputy head of Gardens and Estates, Graham Dillamore.
Morrison said in a statement: “This has been a very special project to work on, as the Sunken Garden was a favorite place of Diana, Princess of Wales. We have worked carefully to ensure that the new layout and planting scheme compliments the statue, providing a calming place for people who visit Kensington Palace to remember the princess.”
Dillamore said: “While she was in residence at Kensington Palace, Diana, Princess of Wales regularly admired the changing floral displays in the Sunken Garden and would always stop to talk with me and the other gardeners who cared for it.”
“Over three decades later, I’m honored to have been part of the team preparing the garden for the installation of this statue. We’ve incorporated a number of the Princess’s favorite flowers into the design, and I hope that visitors to the palace and gardens will enjoy its peaceful setting, and take a moment to reflect on the life and legacy of the Princess.”
The Sunken Garden was created in 1908 by King Edward VII, by converting potting sheds and greenhouses. The layout of the garden takes inspiration from the 17th-century Dutch-style Pond Garden at Hampton Court Palace, Historic Royal Palaces said.