Everything we know about Princess Diana's statue in Kensington Palace garden

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·Royal Correspondent
·5 min read
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Watch: Diana's iconic wedding dress is star of royal fashion exhibit

On what would have been Princess Diana's 60th birthday, a statue of the late royal will be unveiled in the garden of her London home.

Her sons Princes William and Harry will be present to unveil the piece, standing shoulder-to-shoulder for the first time in months. 

Who has made the statue?

Renowned artist Ian Rank-Broadley has been chosen to create the statue.

He has close ties with the royals already – it is his portrait of the Queen that appears on UK coins.

Rank-Broadley was first commissioned by the brothers to make the statue in 2017 but the project has been delayed, with Kensington Palace citing coronavirus as a problem.

He has also worked on sculptures around the UK, including Opening The Lock Gate at 250 City Road in London and memorials to the Armed Forces at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, near Lichfield, in Staffordshire. 

When the project was announced, William and Harry released a statement that said: "Our mother touched so many lives. We hope the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on her life and her legacy."

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 01:  Diana, Princess Of Wales, Smiling During A Private Photo Session At Her Home, Kensington Palace. 1st Febuary 1983  (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Diana, in a photo taken in Kensington Palace in Febuary 1983. (Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Why was the statue commissioned?

The statue was commissioned back in 2017 to mark the 20th anniversary of the princess's death.

Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on 31 August, 1997.

There have been delays since then, and a lot has changed in the royal landscape – most notably that William and Harry's once-strong bond is no longer.

Harry now lives in the US with his wife Meghan Markle, and has described the relationship with his brother as "space". 

The brothers wanted the statue to help them remember Diana's positive impact in the UK and around the world.

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 14:  Prince Charles, Prince William (age Approx 18 Months) And Princess Diana At Kensington Palace.  (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Prince Charles, Prince William (age approx 18 months) and Princess Diana at Kensington Palace. (Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Where will it be?

The piece will be in the Sunken Garden in Kensington Palace.

The palace is the current home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the former home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

Diana lived there from the time of her marriage to Prince Charles and continued to live there after their divorce.

The Kensington Palace website says: "In 2017 the garden was completely re-planted in white flowers for visitors to reflect and celebrate the life of Princess Diana. It took inspiration from Princess Diana’s dresses along with the famous Mario Testino photographs of the Princess."

The garden is currently closed but is usually open, meaning visitors will be able to see the statue.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30:  A general view of the Sunken Garden, which has been transformed into a White Garden in memory of Princess Diana
at Kensington Palace on August 31, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace after it was transformed into a White Garden in memory of Princess Diana, on 31 August, 2017. (Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

When will it be unveiled?

The statue will be unveiled in the garden on 1 July, which would have been Diana's 60th birthday.

No further details have yet been released by Kensington Palace but an exhibition about Royal Style that includes her wedding dress will be closed that day.

Who will be there?

Prince William and Prince Harry are both expected to be in attendance at the unveiling of the statue.

It's very likely the Duchess of Cambridge will also be there – she joined them in the garden in 2017 to see the tributes to her late mother-in-law laid by fans.

It is unlikely that Meghan will be able to attend because she has recently given birth to Lilibet, her and Harry's second child.

TOPSHOT - Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (C), his wife Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (L) and his brother Britain's Prince Harry, shelter from the rain beneath umbrellas as they arrive to attend an event at the memorial gardens in Kensington Palace, west London on August 30, 2017.
Princes William and Harry prepared to pay tribute to their late mother Princess Diana on Wednesday for the 20th anniversary of her death as wellwishers left candles and flowers outside the gates of her former London residence. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Kirsty Wigglesworth        (Photo credit should read KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry at the memorial gardens in Kensington Palace, on 30 August, 2017. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AFP via Getty Images)

As for other Royal Family members, it's not known who else could be there.

Prince Charles and Camilla have not attended events related to Diana in recent years.

Whether or not the Queen would lend her support in-person is also not known. She would not necessarily be expected to go, and is not based in London at the moment, choosing to remain at Windsor Castle for the time being.

The Queen opened the Diana memorial fountain in Hyde Park in 2004.

What other memorials are there to Diana?

Diana is buried at Althorp House, her family home, which is currently run by her brother Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer.

He told ITV's Good Morning Britain about her grave, saying: "Every landmark day, such as birthday, Mother’s Day, I always take flowers. 

"I do go a lot and it’s an oasis of calm and it’s a lovely place to go."

He added: "I remember my father always used to talk about the day Diana was born, 1 July, 1961, and it was a sweltering hot day and this wonderful daughter appeared. 

"It’s so funny to be of an age now where your slightly older sister’s 60. It will be an emotional day but it will be a tribute to a much-missed and much-loved sister and mother."

Queen Elizabeth Attends The Unveiling Of The Diana Princess Of Wales Memorial Fountain In London'S Hyde Park. . (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
The Queen at the unveiling of the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain In London's Hyde Park. (Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

There is also a Diana memorial playground and fountain in Hyde Park, next to Kensington Palace. 

The playground features a huge wooden pirate ship and was opened in June 2000. 

A memorial fountain was opened in 2004 by the Queen, made from 545 pieces of Cornish granite. 

The park's website says the design aims to "reflect Diana's life, water flows from the highest point in two directions as it cascades, swirls and bubbles before meeting in a calm pool at the bottom".

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