Prince William and Prince Harry have chosen the person who will create the tribute statue to the late Princess Diana
Prince William and Prince Harry are ending a poignant year in which they have led the public memorials to their late mother Princess Diana by announcing that a sculptor and design have been chosen to create a commemorative statue of her.
They have comissioned Ian Rank-Broadley, the sculptor behind the effigy of Queen Elizabeth that has been used to decorate all British coins since 1998.
Prince Harry, 33, and Prince William, 35 — who have spent much of the year talking about and commemorating Diana — used the latest news to express their gratitude over the touching reaction to the 20th anniversary of their mother’s death this past summer.
“We have been touched by the kind words and memories so many people have shared about our mother over these past few months. It is clear the significance of her work is still felt by many in the U.K. and across the world, even 20 years after her death,” the princes said in a joint statement released to PEOPLE.
The statement continued, “Ian is an extremely gifted sculptor and we know that he will create a fitting and lasting tribute to our mother. We look forward to unveiling the statue, which will allow all those who visit Kensington Palace to remember and celebrate her life and legacy.”
Rank-Broadley’s statue will be created in the coming months and situated in the public grounds of Kensington Palace, just yards from the home where Diana lived until her death following a car crash in Paris in August 1997. Palace officials expect it to be in position in 2019.
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The artist was chosen after committee — including Princess Diana’s sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton,the princes’ former top aide and one of Prince George’s godparents — were tasked with coming up with a creator for the project and raising the money for it.
Rank-Broadley added in the statement, “It is my sole and highest intention to fulfill the expectations of Their Royal Highnesses in creating a lasting and fitting memorial to their late mother Diana, Princess of Wales.”