Power Among the Flowers: The Royals' Most Personal Moments in Kensington Palace's Sunken Garden

Prince Harry announced his engagement and Princess Diana's sons have dedicated a memorial statue to their late mother in one of her favorite spots

The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex arrive for the unveiling of a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales
Prince William and Prince Harry unveil a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, at Kensington Gardens. Photo: Alamy Stock Photo
01 of 06

Dedication to Diana

The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex arrive for the unveiling of a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales
Prince William and Prince Harry unveil a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, at Kensington Gardens. Alamy Stock Photo

On July 1, 2021 — the day that would have been Princess Diana's 60th birthday — Princes William and Harry unveiled a statue to their late mother in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace. Ahead of the ceremony, the garden underwent a remodel: more than 4,000 flowers were planted, with several of Diana's favorites among them. The newly created deeper flower borders and a more generous lawn was designed to "create a calmer and more reflective setting for the statue," the palace said in a statement.

02 of 06

A Living Tribute

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Courtesy Historical Royal Palaces

Re-envisioned as a tribute to Diana in 2016, The White Garden to life took 18 months and 12,000 blooms to bring to life. Graham Dillamore, the deputy head of Gardens and Estates at Historic Royal Palaces, told PEOPLE it was a fitting tribute because of the Princess of Wales's love for the space: "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."

03 of 06

A Royal Engagement

Britain Royal Engagement, London, United Kingdom - 27 Nov 2017
AP/REX/Shutterstock

Royal watchers most recently remember the garden as the locale for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's joyous engagement announcement photo call in 2018. In fitting with her surroundings, Meghan wore a stunning white coat by Canadian brand Line the Label. More poignantly, her engagement ring — designed by Harry himself — features two diamonds from Diana's own collection surrounding a diamond from Botswana, where the couple strengthened their bond during the early days of their long-distance courtship.

04 of 06

England's Rose

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Courtesy Historical Royal Palaces

The garden is teeming with fragrant plants and many of Diana's favorite flowers: forget-me-nots, lavender, sweet peas, 100 dahlias, tulips and, of course, white and cream roses. "They are plants much loved by the Princess of Wales — whites and blues and pinks," Graham Dillamore, Deputy Head Gardener at Historic Royal Palaces, told PEOPLE. "Some of her favorite flowers like peonies ... and white and pink roses which were her favorite as well. [Sunken Garden designer] Pip Morrison worked with the Princes to put it all on paper for my team and I to execute."

05 of 06

Deep Roots

Britain Princess Diana
Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

The garden is teeming with fragrant plants and many of Diana's favorite flowers: forget-me-nots, lavender, sweet peas, 100 dahlias, tulips and, of course, white and cream roses. "I think lots of people would refer to Princess Diana as the classic English rose," Kensington Palace's head gardener, Sean Harkin told Vogue in 2017. "It felt like it was a must to include them."

06 of 06

Forget Her Not

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Courtesy Historical Royal Palaces

Harkin told PEOPLE in 2017 that he hoped the garden "captures the energy and spirit that made [Diana] such a popular figure around the world."

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