Britain’s Princes William and Harry, believed to have become estranged from each other as the latter stepped back from frontline royalty to move to the US, are expected to reunite to unveil a statue in memory of their late mother, Princess Diana, to mark her 60th birth anniversary next year.
Kensington Palace issued a rare joint statement on behalf of the royal brothers on Friday to announce that the memorial will be revealed in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace on July 1, 2021.
The statue had been commissioned by William, the Duke of Cambridge, and Harry, the Duke of Sussex – the second and sixth in line to the British throne, respectively – a few years ago as a permanent memorial on the grounds of the palace in central London which was their late mother’s home.
“The statue that Prince William and Prince Harry have commissioned to commemorate their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, will be installed next year on what would have been her 60th birthday,” Kensington Palace said.
“The statue was commissioned to mark the twentieth anniversary of her death and recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world. The princes hope that the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on their mother’s life and her legacy,” it said.
According to media reports, while the design stages for the statue have been completed, the installation was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The two princes were just 15 and 13 when Diana was killed in a Paris car crash on August 31, 1997.
William and Harry had announced plans for the statue in January 2017, saying "time is right to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world with a permanent statue".
In December 2017, British sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, whose portrait of Queen Elizabeth II appears on all Commonwealth coins since 1998, was revealed as the chosen artist.
“We look forward to unveiling the statue, which will allow all those who visit Kensington Palace to remember and celebrate her life and legacy," the princes said in a joint statement at the time.
While her grave is on an island at her family estate at Althorp in Northamptonshire, which is not open to public access, Diana, Princess of Wales, has several memorials in London – including the Diana Memorial Playground at Kensington Palace, the Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park, and the Diana Memorial Walk at St James' Palace.
A memorial garden, named the White Garden, was the latest addition when it was unveiled at Kensington Palace to mark the 20th anniversary of her death in 2017.