Harry and Wills’ kisses for their aunts: Princes greet Diana’s sisters Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes as they join Earl Spencer to unveil statue of their mother at Kensington Palace
- Diana’s siblings Earl Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes are attending today’s event
- The Diana statue has been in situ for more than a week after being lifted into a crate in middle of the night
- The statue is being unveiled in the Sunken Garden on what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday
- Prince Harry and Prince William are also in attendance and were seen chatting on arrival at Kensington Palace
Princess Diana’s siblings reunited at Kensington Palace today for the unveiling of their sister’s statue on what would have been her 60th birthday.
Lady Sarah McCorquodale, 66, Lady Jane Fellowes, 64, and Charles, Earl Spencer, 57, joined their nephews Prince William, 39, and Prince Harry, 36, for the intimate ceremony in the remodelled Sunken Garden.
The warmth between the princes and their aunts was clear as they greeted each other with an affectionate kiss on the cheek. Lady Sarah beamed as she held onto Harry’s shoulder and appeared to whisper something into his ear.
Later Prince Harry, who appeared excited throughout the event, smiled widely as he shared a light-hearted moment with his aunts and uncle Charles.
It is not known when the Duke of Sussex last saw his aunts and uncle. He was last photographed with Lady Sarah and Lady Jane at his son Archie’s christening in 2019.
William and Harry put aside their personal differences and stood shoulder-to-shoulder to unveil the bronze statue of their mother in the Sunken Garden, which became a place of solace for Diana before her death in 1997. The garden was replanted with 4,000 of Diana’s favourite flowers in honour of the event.
Kisses for their aunts: Lady Sarah McCorquodale, 66, left, beamed as she greeted her nephew Prince Harry, 36, with a kiss on the cheek in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace. Right, Prince William, 39, with Lady Jane Fellowes, 64
Lovely to see you! Prince Harry shared a light-hearted moment with his uncle and aunts during the short event this afternoon
Precious moments: The aunts, Princess Diana’s older sisters, looked delighted to see their nephews at the intimate event. The statue was unveiled in the Sunken Garden – one of Diana’s favourite spots – on what would have been her 60th birthday
Family time: Prince Harry chats to his aunt Lady Jane Fellowes and uncle Earl Spencer at the unveiling of the statue today
Harry also spoke to Earl Spencer, his mother’s brother, at the Spencer-dominated event, shaking his hand
In good spirits: Earl Spencer, who oversees the family estate of Althorp, smiled as he chatted to Prince Harry today
The Duke of Sussex (centre) with his aunt Lady Jane Fellowes and uncle Earl Spencer, making them laugh
The Duke of Cambridge (left) and Duke of Sussex look at a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales
Admiring: Sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, Earl Spencer and Lady Sarah McCorquodale after the unveiling of the statue
The statue, made by Ian Rank-Broadley, shows Diana with her arms around two children, and towered over the brothers as they revealed it to the world this afternoon.
During the engagement Harry clapped his hands with excitement before the sculpture was revealed. William appeared far more serious during the short ceremony and the awkward walk to the Sunken Garden.
In a joint statement released this afternoon, the brothers said: ‘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.’
They added: ‘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.
‘Thank you to Ian Rank-Broadley, Pip Morrison and their teams for their outstanding work, to the friends and donors who helped make this happen, and to all those around the world who keep our mother’s memory alive.’
The Sunken Garden’s designer Pip Morrison was stood nearby and she could be overheard telling the royal brothers ‘It’s a collaborative effort’. When the two dukes got into place either side of the statue William said ‘ready?’ before they pulled off the cloth and the guests applauded.
The brothers smiled as at the same time they pulled away the green cover to reveal the bronze sculpture by Ian Rank-Broadley
The bronze made by Ian Rank-Broadley shows Diana with her arms around two children, and towered over the brothers as they revealed it to the world this afternoon.
A smiling Duke of Sussex after the unveiling a statue commissioned of his mother Diana
The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex arrive for the unveiling
Members of the statue committee who were tasked in 2017 with commissioning and privately raising funds for the creation of the statue stood nearby.
Lady Sarah was on the committee and her five colleagues included Diana’s close friend, Julia Samuel, who is a godparent of Prince George, and John Barnes, chief executive of Historic Royal Palaces, the charity which looks after a number of royal sites.
The committee was chaired by Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, William and Harry’s former principal private secretary, and it also included Gerry Farrell, director of the Sladmore Gallery, which specialises in sculpture, as well as financier Guy Monson, a former trustee of the royal brothers’ charitable foundation.
Guests also included Kensington Palace head gardener Gary James, and Graham Dillamore, deputy head of gardens and estates at Historic Royal Palaces. Historic Royal Palaces chairman Rupert Gavin also attended.
Reunited: Princess Diana’s eldest sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale and younger brother Earl Spencer (right) arriving
Close family: Earl Spencer with Lady Sarah (back to camera) and Lady Jane (in green, right) before the intimate ceremony
Remembering their sister: Earl Spencer follows his sister Lady Jane (foreground) to the Sunken Garden at the palace
Private event: Earl Spencer, Lady Jane (behind, in green) and Lady Sarah (back to camera) ahead of the ceremony today
Dapper: Earl Spencer looked smart in a suit and tie as he arrived for the event at Kensington Palace this afternoon
After you: Lady Jane (in front, in green) led the siblings as they made their way to the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace
Earl Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale (right) and Lady Jane Fellows (left) leaving Kensington Palace Prince
Harry and William are said to have barely spoken in the past 18 months
The Duke of Cambridge (second left) and Duke of Sussex (second right) talk to, Rupert Gavin, Chairman of Historic Royal Palaces (left) and Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton (right) the former Private Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
The statue was commissioned by the brothers in 2017 to memorialise their mother and mark the 20th anniversary of her death.
Kensington Palace said the princes ‘wanted the statue to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world, and help future generations understand the significance of her place in history’.
‘Not what was her station, but has she a heart?’ Moving lines of verse engraved by Diana statue
In front of it is a paving stone engraved with an extract after the poem The Measure of A Man by Albert Schweitzer, which was read at the 2007 memorial service marking the 20th anniversary of her death.
It read: ‘These are the units to measure the worth. Of this woman as a woman regardless of birth. Not what was her station? But had she a heart? How did she play her God-given part?’
Schweitzer was a French theologian, writer and philosopher who lived from 1875 to 1965. He is well-known for his writing on Christian mysticism.
In 1952, he received a Nobel Peace Prize for a work of philosophy, becoming the eighth Frenchman to be awarded that prize.
Princess Diana was known to enjoy poetry, and was once given one in a silver frame by Dodi Al Fayed. Harry has also recited poems on public occasions, as has his wife Meghan.
‘The statue aims to reflect the warmth, elegance and energy of Diana, Princess of Wales, in addition to her work and the impact she had on so many people,’ it added.
The portrait and style of dress featured was based on the ‘final period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes’, they said.
It added that the statue ‘aims to convey her character and compassion’. Beneath the statue is a plinth engraved with the Princess’ name and the date of the unveiling.
In front of it is a paving stone engraved with an extract after the poem The Measure of A Man by Albert Schweitzer, which was read at the 2017 memorial service marking the 20th anniversary of her death.
It reads: ‘These are the units to measure the worth Of this woman as a woman regardless of birth. Not what was her station? But had she a heart? How did she play her God-given part?’
Hundreds of mourners gathered outside from dawn with Diana’s fans travelling from all over the UK to west London for the poignant commemorative event today.
Prince Harry arrived 15 minutes before the event and left after 90 minutes. It is not known if he was heading to Frogmore Cottage or Heathrow Airport to fly back to be with Meghan, Archie and Lilibet in Los Angeles.
Sources close to Earl Spencer have said that there is a hope that the celebration of their mother’s life and legacy will bring Harry and William together again after months of discord over the Sussexes’ decision to quit the royal family and subsequent interviews in which they publicly criticised the royal family.
However Omid Scobie, the Sussexes’ preferred royal reporter, played down the idea of a public reconciliation ahead of the event.
He said: ‘What we will see is two brothers being professional in a moment that is not about them. This is going to be a moment we see them put everything to one side. We will just see professionalism and nothing else.’
Outside the palace hundreds arrived to pay their respects to Diana on her 60th birthday
Friends hold homemade banners wishing Diana a happy birthday and declaring their love for her
Her sons Princes William and Harry have worked closely with the team at Kensington Palace to re-design the garden, filling it with glorious scented blooms loved by their adored mother
The redesigned Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, home to the new Diana, Princess of Wales statue, which has been filled with more than 4,000 flowers and offers a ‘calmer and more reflective setting’
Source: Read Full Article