The announcement from Prince William and Prince Harry comes just three days before the 23rd anniversary of the death of their mother, Princess Diana

By Simon Perry
August 28, 2020 09:36 AM
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The long-awaited statue to honor Princess Diana will be installed next year on what would have been the late royal's 60th birthday — July 1, 2021.

Her sons Prince William, 38, and Prince Harry, 35, issued a rare joint statement on Friday announcing that the statue will stand in the garden of their mother's former home, Kensington Palace, and help people "reflect on her life and legacy."

The announcement, which came from the Kensington Palace offices of William and his wife Kate Middleton, comes just three days before what will be the 23rd anniversary of Diana's death in 1997.

It marks the first time William and Harry have spoken publicly together since Harry and wife Meghan Markle moved to their new home in Santa Barbara, California, with their 1-year-old son Archie, following their decision to step down from their roles as senior working royals earlier this year.

Prince Harry and Prince William in 2018
| Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images
Princess Diana
| Credit: Tim Graham/Getty

Plans for the statue were first announced in February 2017, the year of many commemorations of Diana's life, as it marked 20 years since she died in a car crash in Paris. She was just 36.

The statue was “commissioned to mark the twentieth anniversary of her death and recognize her positive impact in the UK and around the world,” the palace said in a brief statement.

“The statue will be installed in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace on 1st July 2021, marking The Princess’s 60th birthday,” the statement continues. “The Princes hope that the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on their mother’s life and her legacy.”

Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry
| Credit: A.G. Carrick/Diana Memorial Fund/Getty

After consulting with senior officials and friends, the princes commissioned Ian Rank-Broadley, the sculptor behind the image of their grandmother Queen Elizabeth that has been used to decorate all British coins since 1998, as the person to create the tribute.

Prince Harry and Prince William
| Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Royal sources say that the design stages had been progressing well, but the installation was delayed because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

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The brothers initially pulled together a committee of some of those closest to them, including Diana’s sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale and their former chief of staff, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, to help find a suitable designer and concept.

At the time his role was announced in December 2017, Rank-Broadley said in a 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.”