Prince William and Prince Harry to Attend Graveside Service on Diana's Birthday
The service will take place on what would have been Diana's 56th birthday
The service will take place on Saturday, July 1, the day that would have been Diana’s 56th birthday. William and Princess Kate plan to bring nearly 4-year-old Prince George and 2-year-old Princess Charlotte as they join members of Diana’s family at the island on the Oval Lake outside Althorp House for a rededication of Diana’s grave. It will be a private service with no press permitted.
Led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the service comes as the princes move ahead with plans for a statue of their mother, which was commissioned earlier this year and will be erected at Kensington Palace.
Last year, Diana’s brother Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, told PEOPLE of plans to renovate the area surrounding the memorial, including the planting of forget-me-nots and rhododendrons. “They were Diana’s favorite flower,” he said last year. “I still remember giving her some when we were children. When I was six, I gave her a white pot of blue forget-me-nots.”
Diana died nearly 20 years ago, on August 31, 1997. After her September 6 funeral at Westminster Abbey in London, her casket was driven about 80 miles north to Althorp for burial. There, she was laid to rest on the island in a ceremony witnessed only by her family, senior members of the royal family and several close staffers.
At the far end of the lake is a small building known as the Temple, where a black silhouette of the princess is flanked by a simple dedication to Diana.
“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will attend a private service to re-dedicate the grave of Diana, Princess of Wales at Althorp House on Saturday 1 July,” Kensington Palace said in a statement. “The service, which will fall on what would have been The Princess’s birthday, will be conducted by The Archbishop of Canterbury and attended by her family.”
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The peaceful spot is possible to be viewed at a distance by visitors to the estate, where there is also a temporary exhibition of Mario Testino’s 1997 photo shoot with the princess, as well as “Walking in Her Shoes,” an exhibit marking the contributions made by 20 young people from around the world honored by the Diana Award in May.
The Diana Award charity was celebrated at Athorp earlier this month.