Princess Diana statue unveiling: when was 60th birthday memorial unveiled, and what did Harry and William say?

Diana’s sons have unveiled a memorial statue at Kensington Palace on what would have been their mother’s 60th birthday.

The statue of Lady Diana Spencer was first announced four years ago, and has been overseen by Diana’s sons Prince William and Prince Harry since then.

So, where has the statue been unveiled and what have Prince William and Harry said about it?

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Where has the Diana statue been unveiled and what have Prince William and Harry said about it?

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex unveil a statue of their mother, Princess Diana at The Sunken Garden in Kensington Palace, London on July 1, 2021, which would have been her 60th birthday. - Princes William and Harry set aside their differences on Thursday to unveil a new statue of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DOMINIC LIPINSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex unveil a statue of their mother, Princess Diana at The Sunken Garden in Kensington Palace, London on July 1, 2021, which would have been her 60th birthday. - Princes William and Harry set aside their differences on Thursday to unveil a new statue of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DOMINIC LIPINSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The memorial has been designed by artist Ian Rank-Broadley. It has been commissioned to mark what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday.

The statue has been unveiled in Kensington Palace on today, which would have been the 60th birthday of the Princess of Wales.

Posting on Twitter under the @KensingtonRoyal account, the brothers released a joint statement which 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.

Princess of Wales Diana poses, 27 January 1988 (Photo by PATRICK RIVIERE / AFP) (Photo credit should read PATRICK RIVIERE/AFP via Getty Images)

"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.”

When did Diana die?

Princess Diana, who was married to Prince Charles between 1981 and 1996, died in August 1997 in a car crash in Paris at the age of 36.

Prince William, now aged 39 and a dad of three, was 15 when his mother died and Prince Harry, who is 36 and has two children, was just 12 at the time.

Diana famously told BBC’s Panorama in 1995, the year before she and Charles divorced and two years before she died, that “there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” referring to Charles’ affair with Camilla.

A report has since condemned former BBC journalist Martin Bashir’s unethical behaviour during that interview.

Who else was in attendance at the statue unveiling?

Prince Harry’s wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, did not join her husband in London as she has recently given birth.

The couple, who now live in California, welcomed Lilibet 'Lili' Diana Mountbatten-Windsor at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital on June 4.

The new baby was named after her great-grandmother, the Queen, and her late grandmother.

A statement from the couple’s press secretary following the birth, said: “Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet.

“Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honour her beloved late grandmother, The Princess of Wales.”

Prince William’s wife, The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, also did not attend the ceremony.

It has been reported, however, that Prince William saw the statue privately with his wife and their three children, George, Charlotte and Louis, before the official ceremony.

Prince Harry, who arrived in the UK ahead of the unveiling on Friday, is also said to have time in private with the statue before it was revealed.

Senior royals, including the Queen and Prince Charles, also did not attend.

The unveiling was attended by Diana’s close family members, including her brother Earl Spencer and sisters Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellows.

A Kensington Palace spokesperson said last week: “Prince William and Prince Harry will attend a small event to mark the unveiling of a statue they commissioned of their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace on Thursday 1st July.

"In addition to close family of Diana, Princess of Wales, members of the statue committee, the sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, and garden designer, Pip Morrison, will also be present.”

Why did so few people attend the event, and when can the public see the statue?

It is understood that plans for the unveiling were scaled back due to coronavirus restrictions, and the original guest list of around 100 people has now been cut and only family will attend.

Prince William and Prince Harry are also reported to have said that they want the event to be a private and personal.

Only a handful of people will be able to attend, including close family members, one pool reporter and one broadcaster.

The public will be able to visit the gardens and see the statue from tomorrow.