DAN WOOTTON: I know I shouldn’t weep over a statue but watching Diana’s two sons together – but so obviously still so far apart – was heart-breaking
It’s unusual to feel emotional about a statue, right?
But the moment warring brothers Prince William and Harry – once each other’s rocks – managed to put their monumental differences aside – at least for a split second – to jointly reveal to the world the Diana who will reign resplendent forever more at her Kensington Palace home, my eyes welled up.
On what would have been her 60th birthday, it was quite a sight to see the beautiful and dignified princess who changed everything towering over her two sons.
Conscious to keep their emotions at bay, as royals do, the dukes attempted to be jovial, but the emotional weight of the moment was evident.
Both boys know in their hearts that their mother would be deeply distressed to know her sons no longer talk.
Sure, there’s been a few break-the-ice text messages about England’s football success this week and they made a cursory effort in front of the cameras knowing their every utterance was under the microscope.
If one picture best summed up the relationship between Princes William and Harry today, it was the two brothers with their backs to each other, going about their business in very different ways as they jointly revealed the statue of Diana that will reign resplendent forever at her Kensington Palace home, writes Dan Wootton
But, in reality, the gulf between William and Harry is now seismic and, according to senior royal sources, possibly insurmountable. At least while Meghan is on the scene.
If one picture best summed up the relationship between the pair today, it was the two brothers with their backs to each other, going about their business in very different ways.
Harry, ever the joker despite his deep anxiety over returning to London, was attempting to lighten the mood.
William, his body clenched with the awkwardness of his failure to hide the fury he feels towards his younger sibling, was dutiful and statesmanlike.
There were moments William seemed to grimace when Harry sidled up alongside him to join one of the conversations he was having with an official, just like he does on a daily basis in his role as the Duke of Cambridge.
On what would have been her 60th birthday, it was quite a sight to see the beautiful and dignified princess who changed everything towering over her two sons
There were moments William seemed to grimace when Harry sidled up alongside him to join one of the conversations he was having with an official, just like he does on a daily basis in his role as the Duke of Cambridge
William is forever conscious of the fact Harry’s departure to the US to make his millions has left his family with the weight of the royal duty they had always planned to share.
The bond he felt so deeply with Harry has been replaced by rancour over claims by the Sussexes that his family are racist and were uncaring about a suicidal Meghan.
Perhaps if Diana were still here she would have been the only person who could have convinced Harry not to throw away all the goodwill with the British public he’d spend his life building up.
While many comparisons are made between the impetuous nature of Diana and Harry, she never waged such all-out warfare on the institution that made her the world’s most famous woman.
Even the Panorama interview was largely an attack on her husband, not the Royal Family.
And after her divorce, she remained in residence at Kensington Palace almost entirely focussed on good deeds and how to make a difference in her new role, rather than making millions for herself.
Maybe Diana would have been the one person who could have warned Harry about Meghan’s motives before they married.
Both William and The Queen tried and failed.
Prince Charles wouldn’t have even dared.
The greatest tribute William and Harry could make to their mother today would be to go for a beer and remember her together. Pictured: The Princes with their mother in Mallorca, Spain in 1987
It’s 8,705 days since Diana perished in a Paris tunnel, but her day-to-day influence on the monarchy even now cannot be underestimated.
She remains a constant thorn in the side of the heir to the throne and his ambitions for his wife Camilla.
Even today a new poll showed that 63.2 per cent of Brits do not want Camilla to become Queen. Just 22.3 per cent think she should and 14.5 per cent don’t know.
That’s because of Diana. Her loyal army of devotees – of which I proudly declare myself – will not forget her words and desires.
The same poll found more Brits view Diana as their favourite ever member of the royal family, narrowly topping the Queen (22.2 per cent to 22.1 per cent).
Now I know the statue is already divisive, with a tonne of criticism that it doesn’t represent Diana’s true beauty or the fairy tale dimension of her life.
The statue represents the Diana she wanted to be: A divorced humanitarian whose life would be focussed on the causes that mattered to her, especially the plight of children around the world.
When Diana died, she wore no crown – heck, there wasn’t even the title Her Royal Highness or royal protection – but she was at the height of her powers.
She would likely be supporting both her sons on their different paths but would be uncompromising about the need for them to be there for each other.
The greatest tribute William and Harry could make to their mother today would be to go for a beer and remember her together.
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