Almost a family reunion. Prince Harry and Prince William came together to honor their late mother, Princess Diana, on Thursday, July 1, at the unveiling of her statue, while Prince Charles was not in attendance. The event, which has been planned for years, celebrated what would have been Diana’s 60th birthday. The Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash in 1997.
“The Princes hope that the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on their mother’s life and her legacy,” the princes said in a statement about the unveiling in 2020. In addition to Diana’s son, her siblings, Charles Spencer, The Lady Sarah McCorquodale, and The Lady Jane Fellowes, were in attendance, along with sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, garden designer Pip Morrison and Chair of Historic Royal Palaces, Rupert Gavin.
While Harry, 36, stepped away from his senior royal duties in 2020 and later moved to California, he returned to the U.K. for the ceremony, reuniting with his brother, 39, regardless of the tension that had built through the years.
“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 on Thursday. “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.”
Charles, 72, was not in attendance. Charles and Diana were married from 1981 to 1996. The duo split after admissions of infidelity, and he went on to marry Duchess Camilla in 2005.
In addition to the strained relationship with Diana’s family, who honored her at the unveiling, Charles has also had many ups and downs with Harry over the last year.
In a CBS tell-all interview with wife Meghan Markle earlier this year, the Invictus Games founder claimed the future king “stopped taking” his calls after the couple shared their exit plan.
“I feel really let down, because he’s been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like, and Archie’s his grandson,” he said in March, referencing his late mother’s struggles with depression and the U.K. press. “I will always love him, but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened. And I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship.”
Two months later, Harry opened up about his royal upbringing, first during an episode of Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast. “Isn’t this all about breaking the cycle?” he asked. “Isn’t it all about making sure that history doesn’t repeat itself? That whatever pain and suffering has happened to you that you don’t pass on?”
That same month, he spoke further about the topic during his AppleTV+ series, The Me You Can’t See, noting that his father didn’t understand Meghan’s decision to “put our mental health first” in their own lives.
“My father used to say to me when I was younger, he used to say to William and I, ‘Well, it was like that for me, so it’s gonna be like that for you.’ That doesn’t make sense,” the Duke of Sussex explained. “Just because you suffered, it doesn’t mean that your kids have to suffer. In fact, quite the opposite. If you suffered, do everything you can to make sure that whatever experiences, negative experiences that you had, you can make it right for your kids.”
Shortly after the doc dropped, a source told Us Weekly exclusively that Charles was “boiling with anger” over the “constant digs” Harry publicly is making.
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“He wishes he’d just let it drop,” the insider said at the time. “The general consensus within the royal family is to ignore Harry’s behavior, to avoid fanning the flames, but Charles is finding it hard to hold back. He really wants to defend himself.”
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