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‘Every day, we wish she were still with us’: Harry and William reunite to unveil Diana statue

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Prince Harry stood alongside his brother Prince William as the pair reunited to unveil a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday.

A small, intimate ceremony was held for the unveiling of the Princess of Wales’s memorial statue, which was commissioned by her two sons in 2017.

At the time, the brothers hoped it would allow visitors to reflect on the “life and legacy” of their late mother who died in 1997.

Britain's Prince William, left and Prince Harry unveil a statue they commissioned of their mother Princess Diana, on what woud have been her 60th birthday, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, Thursday July 1, 2021. (Dominic Lipinski /Pool Photo via AP)
Image: Prince William and Prince Harry pull down a cloth covering the statue of their late mother. Pic: AP

In a statement, Prince William and Prince Harry said: “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.

“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.

Britain's Prince William and Prince Harry look at the staue they commissioned of their mother Princess Diana, on what woud have been her 60th birthday, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, Thursday July 1, 2021. (Dominic Lipinski /Pool Photo via AP)
Image: Prince William and Prince Harry reunited for the unveiling. Pic: AP
The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex arrive for the unveiling of a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, on what would have been her 60th birthday. Picture date: Thursday July 1, 2021.
Image: Prince William and Prince Harry issued a joint statement following the unveiling of the Princess Diana statue. Pic: AP

“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.”

This is the first time the pair have been together since the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April. They mirrored each other, walking with their left hands touching their stomachs as they entered the ceremony.

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Prince Harry clapped his hands as if in anticipation when he reached the sculptor who created the tribute and glanced over at the statue covered in a large green cloth.

William was heard saying “ready?” to his brother before the two dukes pulled off the cloth to reveal the long-awaited memorial.

The Duke of Sussex (centre) with his aunt Lady Jane Fellowes and uncle Earl Spencer, at the unveiling of a statue of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, on what would have been her 60th birthday. Picture date: Thursday July 1, 2021.
Image: The Duke of Sussex with his aunt Lady Jane Fellowes and uncle Earl Spencer, at the unveiling of a statue. Pic: AP

The design, created by Ian Rank-Broadley, whose portrait of the Queen features on all UK coins, was kept secret ahead of the ceremony.

Kensington Palace said the statue, which depicts the Princess of Wales in a dress surrounded by three children, reflects her “warmth, elegance and energy” and the “universality and generational impact” of her work.

While two of the children are easy to spot when viewing the statue from the front, the third is partially hidden by the child on the right-hand side.

Beneath it is a plinth engraved with Diana’s name and the date of the unveiling and a paving stone with an extract of the poem The Measure of A Man etched upon it.

It says: “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?”

It has been erected in Kensington Palace’s sunken garden – one of Diana’s favourite places at the palace where she lived for 16 years – which has been filled with more than 4,000 flowers.

Over the past 18 months, the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge has appeared to be strained, but they put their differences aside during the unveiling.

Sky News royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills said: “Looking at these pictures, I think they are the images many people have wanted to see for quite a long time, to see the brothers alongside each other smiling, looking around, looking cheerful after what has been a difficult 18 months where this public rift has played out.

“Today, on what would have been their mother’s 60th birthday, it has been a time to put those differences to one side, to really show a united front and, in as much as they can, enjoy this special moment for them.”

Diana’s brother Earl Spencer and the princess’s sisters, Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale also attended the small ceremony.

Lady Jane Fellowes at the unveiling of a statue of her sister Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, on what would have been her 60th birthday. Picture date: Thursday July 1, 2021.
Image: Lady Jane Fellowes at the unveiling of a statue of her sister

Lady Sarah McCorquodale was a member of the six-strong committee tasked with commissioning and privately raising funds for the creation of the statue, alongside Julia Samuel, a godparent of Prince George who was a close friend of the princess.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the scope of the unveiling was reduced with many of Diana’s friends unable to attend.

A woman wears a face mask with a picture of Britain's Princess Diana, outside Kensington Palace in London, Britain, June 30, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Image: A woman wears a face mask with a picture of Britain’s Princess Diana, outside Kensington Palace

Groups of Princess Diana fans gathered at the memorial outside the palace, where wreaths, notes and photos have been left to mark her birthday.

Royal fan John Loughrey poses for a picture outside Kensington Palace, before the installation of a statue in honour of Princess Diana, in London, Britain, July 1, 2021. REUTERS/John Sibley
Image: Royal fan John Loughrey poses for a picture outside Kensington Palace, before the installation of the statue

One fan, John Loughrey, said: “This statue means an awful lot to her two sons and to us and people around the world because now we’ve got a living legacy of all the work she’s done.

“She’s an immortal soul and she was very special.

“She’ll be talked about in 1,000 years time. And it’s all in stone now, with a statue of her.”