A statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, will be erected in the grounds of Kensington Palace later this year at the request of her sons, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
As they prepare to mark the 20th anniversary of her tragic death in a car crash on August 31, the Princes have set up a committee to commission and privately raise funds for the monument, which will be placed in the public gardens at the Palace. The Diana, Princess of Wales, Statue Committee includes one of Diana's sisters, one of her closest friends and one of William and Harry's most trusted advisors.
The statue will be erected in the grounds of Kensington Palace
They will help the Princes select a sculptor and will work closely with Historic Royal Palaces, which looks after Kensington Palace, on the installation of the artwork. In a statement, William and Harry said: "It has been 20 years since our mother's death and the time is right to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world with a permanent statue."
They continued: "Our mother touched so many lives. We hope the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on her life and her legacy."
In an exclusive interview with HELLO! last May, Prince Harry said he and his brother were determined to create a "permanent memorial" to their mother. He said: "We want to make sure that there's something that she's remembered by and there's certainly not enough on the right scale in London or anywhere in the UK that she's remembered for. And I think myself, William and a few other people, we all agree on that. Something needs to be put in stone or in place as a memory. Lots of people still talk about her. Every single day we still think about her, so it would be very fitting on the 20th anniversary to have something that is going to last forever and is actually a proper recognition of what she did when she was alive."
Princes William and Harry opened up about the statue in a statement
A royal source told HELLO!: "The Princes have been talking about this for a long time and it's something they really wanted to do."
The Committee will be led by chairman Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, a trusted friend and former Private Secretary to the Princes, who has continued to advise them since leaving his role at Kensington Palace in 2013. He is also a godfather to Prince George. Key members are Diana's eldest sister and the Princes' aunt, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Julia Samuel, a close friend of Diana, godmother to Prince George and Founder Patron and Trustee of Child Bereavement UK, of which Prince William is Royal Patron.
Kensington Palace said it is "not possible" to know when the statue will be unveiled
Also on the committee are John Barnes, Conservation and Learning Director at Historic Royal Palaces, who is responsible for the care of Kensington Palace and its collections, Gerry Farrell, director of the Sladmore Gallery, which specialises in sculpture, and financier Guy Monson, a Trustee of the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, and a member of the Organising Committee of the inaugural Invictus Games in London 2014. A statement from Kensington Palace said: "While the sculpting of the statue will begin soon, it is not currently possible to advise when it will be unveiled. It is hoped that this will occur before the end of 2017. Further announcements on the statue's sculptor and design will be made in due course."
The statue will be part of a series of events planned to mark 20 years since the Princess tragically died in a car crash on 31 August, 1997. An exhibition of her world-famous style, Diana: Her Fashion Story, will go on display at Kensington Palace in February, while a temporary White Garden in her memory will be planted in the sunken garden.