Watch: William and Harry reunite for Diana statue tribute
The long-awaited statue of Diana, the permanent memorial of her, has been unveiled, four years after it was first announced.
Prince William and Prince Harry put on a united front at Kensington Palace on 1 July, which would have been her 60th birthday, as they revealed the product of Ian Rank-Broadley’s hard work.
The statue of Diana is surrounded by three children, but there appeared to be some confusion as it became clear the children were not her sons, William and Harry.
The three children are a diverse group and Diana holds hands with a girl, while resting her other hand on the shoulder of a boy. Another boy stands behind the group.
Explaining why the trio appear, Rank-Broadley said: “I think we felt if the princess stood on her own in solitary fashion she might appear isolated.
“And one of the things that came across in talking to her friends and family was she was such a friendly and gregarious person, and she had a particular warmth for children. And in many ways it alludes to her humanitarian work and shows she was a great comfort.”
Rank-Broadley, who is also responsible for the effigy of the Queen seen on the coinage in the UK, said the princes were involved throughout the four year process.
He told PA: “Unfortunately I never knew the princess, I never met her, so I was reliant on what friends and family would say.
“One gets a flavour, there might be anecdotes, reminiscences and particular views, so they contributed in that way. They described their mother and in many ways there were private moments that were related – one certainly got the feeling she was an enormous amount of fun and (loved) playing jokes.
“That helps you create a person, so when I’m on my own in the studio, and I’m just modelling the clay, I got a feeling I’m beginning to know somebody. And towards the end of the commission, I really felt as though I know a Diana.”
He added: “They would send photographs on a regular basis at all the different stages, visits were made to my studio so they were well aware at how it was progressing.”
Watch: Sculptor: Princes made ‘huge contribution’ to Diana statue
The artist stressed again the involvement of the royal brothers in the project: “It was our statue, the collaboration was very good indeed and so therefore it’s not just simply my piece of work. In many respects I was a hand and I had the professional experience to try and give them what they wanted.”
He said: “I think that their mother is there in a real physical sense, perhaps in the evening when the grounds are shut they could easily come here for a moment of quiet reflection and I hope that will give them some sort of comfort or solace.”
Diana has been represented in the later years of her life, with Kensington Palace explaining they have shown her when she was growing in confidence in her diplomatic role.
A statement from the palace said: “The portrait and style of dress was based on the final period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes and aims to convey her character and compassion.”
She is represented with a cropped hair cut and in smart clothes, an outfit one eagle-eyed royal watcher noted was similar to her Christmas card photo of 1993.
At the base of the statue is a plinth with an extract from The Measure of a Man, adapted to be about a woman, which says: “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 statue will be a permanent fixture in the Sunken Garden, which was also redesigned in the lead-up to the unveiling.
The garden is part of the grounds of Kensington Palace, where William lives with his wife Kate and their three children, George, Charlotte and Louis.
Harry and Meghan used to live there, but moved to their Windsor home of Frogmore Cottage around the time their son Archie was born in May 2019.
William and Harry appeared to put aside any ongoing feud as they walked side by side into the Sunken Garden on Thursday afternoon.
They laughed and joked with the small group of attendees of the event, which included their aunts Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Lady Jane Fellowes and Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer, and the members of the committee put in charge of delivering the statue.
The statue will be available to view to visitors to Kensington Palace, which reopens tomorrow after a one-day closure for the ceremony.