Royals Prince William Hosts Private Palace Reception to Thank Those Who Contributed to New Princess Diana Statue Prince Harry returned to the U.K. in July to unveil the new statue of Princess Diana but did not attend the private reception By Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit is a Royals Writer and Reporter at PEOPLE. People Editorial Guidelines Published on October 19, 2021 05:16 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Princess Diana. Photo: Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images Prince William is personally expressing his gratitude those who made the statue of his mother Princess Diana a reality. William, 39, hosted a private reception at Kensington Palace Tuesday for donors who helped fund the statue of Diana that was unveiled in July on what would have been the late Princess of Wales' 60th birthday. Hello! reported that Kate Middleton cohosted the reception. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, July's statue unveiling was a scaled-down affair attended only by close family members of Princess Diana (including her brother, Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, and her sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Jane Fellowes, Baroness Fellowes), statue committee members, the statue's sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley and Pip Morrison, the designer of the Sunken Garden. Tuesday's event allowed more contributors to participate. I Reported on Princess Diana — Here's What the New Statue Gets Exactly Right Prince Harry previously returned to London for the statue's debut, but he and wife Meghan Markle, who relocated their family to California last year, did not return to the U.K. for this week's Kensington Palace event — though Harry is privately reaching out to donors. Prince William and Prince Harry. Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Prince William and Prince Harry said in a joint statement on July 1: "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 statement continued, "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." Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more! Thanking the team who helped bring the statue and the garden to life, they also expressed their appreciation for "all those around the world who keep our mother's memory alive."