Prince William and Prince Harry will meet together in public on Thursday and unveil a statue of their mother on the day she would have turned 60-years-old.The brothers, whose relationship is under severe strain since Harry and Meghan’s departure from the Royal Family, are jointly unveiling the Princess Diana statue at Kensington Palace.The brothers have privately funded the statue which will be positioned in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, a place where their mother loved to be.The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex have not been seen together in public since the funeral of their grandfather, Prince Philip, in April.
The arrangements for guests and for media covering the event have been scaled back by the extension of Covid restrictions but both brothers want the moment to be as low key as possible as they remember their mother and the years they’ve had to endure without her."It’s a 60th birthday which should have been but tragically isn’t," said a royal source and everyone in Kensington Palace is aware of how difficult the moment will be for the two brothers.The statue will sit in a redesigned garden and will be open to the public after her sons have unveiled it.
The Sunken Garden was, said a Kensington Palace statement, "one of the Princess' favourite locations".
The Palace said the new garden had been designed with a "simplified layout of deeper flower borders" and more lawn around the pool "to create a calmer and more reflective setting for the statue".Close members of Diana’s family will be there including her sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Jane Fellowes and brother Earl Spencer, who recently criticised the BBC for its 1995 Panorama interview with the late Princess.
The statue has been designed and sculpted by Ian Rank-Broadley and the designer of the garden Pip Morrison will also join William and Harry.The Deputy Head Gardener, Graham Dillamore spoke of his memories of Princess Diana in the garden.
"She would always stop to talk with me and the other gardeners who cared for it", he said.
"Over three decades later, I'm honoured to have been part of the team preparing the garden for the installation of the statue".
Ms Morrison said: "This has been a very special project to work on, as the Sunken Garden was a favourite place of Diana, Princess of Wales".The Duke of Sussex flew back to the UK from his home in California last week in order to complete the five-day quarantine period which is mandatory for those arriving from the US.
He has been staying at Frogmore Cottage which remains the official UK residence for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex even though Harry’s cousin Princess Eugenie currently lives there with her husband Jack Brooksbank and baby son August.
4,000 flowers have been planted in the Sunken Garden including 100 Forget-me-nots, Princess Diana's favourite flower.Harry and Meghan chose the Sunken Garden as the location for their engagement photocall in 2017.The garden and the statue will be free to view during the opening hours of Kensington Palace, which is run by Historic Royal Palaces.
Listen to our podcast - The Royal Rota