Chris Ship reports on the brothers' first meeting since Prince Philip's funeral
A crowd had gathered in the public park outside Kensington Palace but in the secluded garden away from anyone’s gaze, a small group watched the moment Prince William and Prince Harry unveiled the statue of their late mother, Princess Diana.
Watch the moment William and Harry together unveil the statue of Princess Diana
The statue had been covered in a dark green cloth as the brothers arrived - they were chatting to one another as they did so.
The Sunken Garden was tranquil and calm and only Diana’s sons, her siblings and those in charge of the statue’s design were there to watch as the brothers pulled away the cover.
They did it together.
That in itself was no small matter, given everything the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex have been through in recent months.
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Their falling out – no longer secret – was put to one side for this very personal moment.
Whatever the cause of their disagreement, however deep it might now be, William and Harry share the immense grief of losing Diana at a such young age and they have shared the ongoing absence of a maternal figure in their lives as they grew up, as they married and as they started families of their own.
They were unable to progress any reconciliation after the funeral of their grandfather Prince Philip in April (that was the last time they were seen together in public) but there will be many hoping that the events in the Sunken Garden today – one of Princess Diana’s favourite places – might trigger an improvement in their relationship.
The gardener who spent many days talking to Diana in this very place was there – as was the sculptor who had been commissioned by the brothers in 2017 to memorialise their mother.
Ian Rank-Broadley is no stranger to Royal sculpting – having sculpted The Queen for a display in the Supreme Court and having designed the effigy of the Queen which has been used on UK coins since 1998.
Kensington Palace said that William and Harry wanted the statue to “recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world” and they also hope it will “help future generations understand the significance of her place in history”.
Watching it happen were Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, and her sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes.
With the short and private event over – where only the very minimal number of cameras were present – Kensington Palace said that the brothers hoped the statue captures their mother's “warmth, elegance and energy” as well as the “impact she had on so many people”.
When it opens to the public, people will be able to see the statue for themselves and remember the contribution this woman made to the country and to the Royal Family in her 36 years of life.
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