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Prince William and Prince Harry's emotional tribute to Princess Diana at statue unveiling

The royal brothers were reunited at the special Kensington Palace event

Emily Nash

The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex  unveiled the long-awaited statue of their beloved mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, in an emotional and intimate ceremony at her former home, Kensington Palace on Thursday. 

William and Harry were reunited in the Sunken Garden – one of her favourite places to reflect – as the sculpture by renowned artist Ian Rank-Broadley was finally revealed to the public on what would have been her 60th birthday.

In a joint tribute, the brothers 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. 

"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."

The stunning artwork, cast in bronze, shows the statue surrounded by three children and depicts Diana in the later years of her life.

READ: Princess Diana's statue unveiling: Harry and William reunite and family tributes

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WATCH: William and Harry reunite for Princess Diana's statue unveiling

Beneath the statue is a plinth engraved with the Princess' name and the date of the unveiling, while a paving stone in front is engraved with an extract after the poem The Measure of A Man, which was in the programme for the 2007 memorial service for the Princess.

It reads: "These are the units to measure the worth

"Of this woman as a woman regardless of birth.

"Not what was her station?

"But had she a heart?

"How did she play her God-given part?"

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The statue was created by Ian Rank-Broadley

In a statement, Kensington Palace said: "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 added: "The statue aims to reflect the warmth, elegance and energy of Diana, Princess of Wales, in addition to her work and the impact she had on so many people.

"The portrait and style of dress was based on the final period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes and aims to convey her character and compassion."

A source with knowledge of the design process told HELLO!: "It's a very warm, classic sculpture and they are very happy with it."

The royal brothers were joined by their aunts and uncle, Diana's sisters Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Lady Jane Fellowes and her brother Earl Spencer.

MORE: First look at Princess Diana's garden makeover ahead of statue unveiling

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William and Harry were joined by Diana's close family

Members of the Statue Committee there included Chairman Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton – former private secretary to both William and Harry, Gerry Farrell, Guy Monson, John Barnes from Historic Royal Palaces and Diana's close friend Julia Samuel, Prince George's godmother.

Also attending were Ian Rank-Broadley, garden designer Pip Morrison and Chair of Historic Royal Palaces Rupert Gavin.

The statue was commissioned by the brothers in 2017 to memorialise their mother and mark the 20th anniversary of her tragic death aged 36 in a car crash in Paris.

Kensington Palace said: "Prince William and Prince Harry wanted the statue to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world, and help future generations understand the significance of her place in history."

Work to prepare the Sunken Garden began in October 2019, and since then five gardeners – led by Deputy Head of Gardens and Estates at Historic Royal Palaces, Graham Dillamore – have spent a total of 1,000 hours working on planting.

More than 4,000 individual flowers have been planted, including more than 200 roses, of five varieties including Ballerina and Blush Noisette, 100 Forget-me-nots – Diana's favourite flower – and 300 tulips, of three varieties including White Triumphator and China Pink. 

More than 500 lavender plants, 100 dahlias, and 50 sweet peas have been planted, while more than 400m of fine, short cut turf has also been laid.

For further information about visiting the garden and statue, please visit: www.hrp.org.uk/kensingtonpalace/whats-on/the-sunken-garden

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