A solemn tribute. The new statue of Princess Diana includes a special detail calling back to a previous memorial for the late royal, Kensington Palace confirmed.
“Beneath the statue is a plinth engraved with The Princess’ name and the date of the unveiling,” the palace said in a press release on Thursday, July 1. “In front of the statue is a paving stone engraved with an extract after the poem The Measure of A Man which featured in the programme for the 2007 memorial service for The Princess.”
The excerpt reads as follows:
“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?”
As the palace’s statement notes, the same poem was used in a program for the memorial service commemorating the 10th anniversary of Diana’s death in August 2007. “William and I can separate life into two parts,” Prince Harry, then 22, said in a speech during that event. “There were those years when we were blessed with the physical presence beside us of both our mother and father. And then there are the 10 years since our mother’s death. When she was alive, we completely took for granted her unrivaled love of life, laughter, fun and folly. She was our guardian, friend and protector.”
Harry, 36, and Prince William unveiled the bronze homage during a ceremony on Thursday. The event was also attended by her siblings, Charles Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes. Prince Charles was not in attendance.
Diana died in a car crash at age 36 in 1997. The statue was originally commissioned in 2017 to mark the 20th anniversary of her death, but now commemorates what would’ve been her 60th birthday.
Diana’s sons came together with a committee of her sisters, friends, experts and charity workers to come up with a perfect tribute. The sculpture, created by Ian Rank-Broadley, will reside in the newly redesigned Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, where some of the Princess of Wales’ favorite flowers have been planted.
The day has been anxiously anticipated as the rift between William, 39, and Harry has grown wider. Between the Duke of Sussex’s move abroad and the coronavirus pandemic preventing travel, he hasn’t seen the royal family much since his move to California in 2020.
Harry reunited with his family at Prince Philip‘s funeral in April, but the grieving process didn’t heal their relationship. Royal expert Robert Lacey claims they were arguing as soon as they were behind closed doors.
“Some inching towards reconciliation seemed in progress. … But those hopes were dashed within minutes of the siblings getting inside the castle and beyond camera vision. They started quarreling again,” the Battle of Brothers author wrote in a recent Daily Mail op-ed.
Harry has been vocal about why he and wife Meghan Markle left the U.K., speaking candidly in a CBS tell-all, podcasts and his Apple TV+ series, The Me You Can’t See, noting his family’s lack of professional and emotional support. However, his relatives haven’t been pleased.
“William feels that Harry should discuss his issues privately and can’t comprehend why he continues to shade his own flesh and blood on TV,” a source told Us Weekly exclusively in May. “Of course, mental health is a serious issue, but William can’t get his head around why Harry keeps throwing his family under the bus.”
The older brother doesn’t want to exacerbate their issues, though. William is determined to stay level-headed with his sibling.
“They’re definitely not at the point where they speak on a regular basis, but William wants to be the bigger person and set a precedent. He believes that in order to repair damage and destruction from Harry’s interview, the best approach is to keep things civil with his brother rather than fanning the flames and fighting back with a tit-for-tat attitude,” another source said. “[Queen Elizabeth II] is proud of William for taking the dignified approach, unlike [Prince] Charles, who still hasn’t forgiven Harry for dragging his name through the mud.”
They’ll attend the statue unveiling together Rank-Broadley, the sculpture committee and garden designer Pip Morrison.