Statue finally takes root in Diana's beloved sunken garden

Statue finally takes root in Diana’s beloved sunken garden: How William and Harry worked with Kensington Palace team to re-design site of statue unveiling… filling it with glorious scented blooms adored by their mother

  • Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden was re-designed in memory of Princess Diana ahead of statue unveiling 
  • William and Harry helped to re-vamp the garden, filling it with 4,000 of their mother’s favourite flowers
  • Over 50 flower varieties were planted for what would have been Diana’s 60th birthday today

A haven of tranquility in bustling London, the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace was one of Princess Diana’s favourite spots for reflection.

She would often stop to chat to the head gardener as she returned from her morning jog, complimenting him on the floral displays and sharing a joke.

There was no more fitting place to unveil the only statue ever commissioned of the royal today on what would have been her 60th birthday.

Prince William and Prince Harry joined Diana’s siblings Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Lady Jane Fellowes and Charles, Earl Spencer, as well as a handful of invited guests, to unveil the bronze likeness of their mother against the backdrop of a garden in bloom. 

And it is not only the statue, designed by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, that will provide a lasting memory of the princess, whose life was cut short in a Paris car crash almost 24 years ago. 

Her sons Princes William and Harry worked closely with the team at Kensington Palace to re-design the garden, filling it with glorious scented blooms loved by their adored mother.

Over 4,000 flowers have been planted, incorporating 50 varieties, including 100 of Diana’s favourite Forget-me-nots, 300 tulips and more than 500 lavenders. There are more than 200 roses, 100 dahlias and 50 sweet peas. More than 400 metres of turf have been laid to complete the setting.  

Princes William and Harry worked closely with the team at Kensington Palace to re-design the garden, filling it with glorious scented blooms loved by their adored mother 

The statue, designed by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley and unveiled today, will provide a lasting memory of the princess

Diana’s hands are gently placed on the shoulders of two of the three children – a boy and a girl, with the girl holding the princess’s hand

The statue (pictured) is surrounded by blooms that have been specifically chosen for the garden

Prince William and Prince Harry greet their aunts Lady Sarah McCorquodale (left) and Lady Jane Fellowes (right) in the Sunken Garden, against the backdrop of some of the 4,000 flowers that have been planted in Diana’s honour 

Garden designer Pip Morrison in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London

Among the guests today was garden designer Pip Morrison, who described the result as a ‘collaboration’. It was then created by the gardens and estates team at charity Historic Royal Palaces.

William and Harry put aside their personal differences and stood shoulder-to-shoulder to unveil the bronze statue of their mother.  

In a joint statement released this afternoon, the brothers said: ‘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.’

They added: ‘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.

‘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.’  

Members of the statue committee who were tasked in 2017 with commissioning and privately raising funds for the creation of the statue stood nearby.

The brothers smiled as at the same time they pulled away the green cover to reveal the bronze sculpture by Ian Rank-Broadley

The bronze made by Ian Rank-Broadley shows Diana with her arms around two children, and towered over the brothers as they revealed it to the world this afternoon.

The Duke of Cambridge (left) and Duke of Sussex look at a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales

Sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex after the unveiling of a statue

Is THIS the card that inspired Diana statue? 

A sculptor has commemorated Princess Diana in a belted pencil skirt and blouse identical to the 1993 photo on the first Christmas card she released after her divorce from Prince Charles.

The portrait and style of dress is reminiscent of a number of ensembles worn by the royal – most notably the outfit she donned on the front of her 1993 Christmas card with sons Prince Harry and Prince William.

It marked the first time Prince Charles and Princess Diana each sent out their own Christmas card featuring themselves and their sons after they separated in 1992.  

In the later stages of her life, Princess Diana still stuck to some of the rules of royal dressing – opting for fabrics that wouldn’t crease – but liked to be able to grab something off the rail and go. It was her way of demonstrating her new-found independence.  

The Duke of Cambridge (left) and Duke of Sussex look at a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales

The bronze statue, which was sculpted by Ian Rank-Broadley and is 1.25x life size, appears to be reminiscent of the outfit Princess Diana donned on the front of her 1993 Christmas card with sons Prince Harry and Prince William (pictured)

Lady Sarah was on the committee and her five colleagues included Diana’s close friend, Julia Samuel, who is a godparent of Prince George, and John Barnes, chief executive of Historic Royal Palaces, the charity which looks after a number of royal sites.

The committee was chaired by Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, William and Harry’s former principal private secretary, and it also included Gerry Farrell, director of the Sladmore Gallery, which specialises in sculpture, as well as financier Guy Monson, a former trustee of the royal brothers’ charitable foundation.

Guests also included Kensington Palace head gardener Gary James, and Graham Dillamore, deputy head of gardens and estates at Historic Royal Palaces. Historic Royal Palaces chairman Rupert Gavin also attended.  

The statue was commissioned by the brothers in 2017 to memorialise their mother and mark the 20th anniversary of her death.

Kensington Palace said the princes ‘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’.

While Prince William was ‘referential’, Prince Harry appeared ‘more defiant’ and showed ‘some internal unease’, Robin explained 

Both managed to smile as they put on a united front for their mother’s 60th birthday

Harry was animated and smiling as they walked towards the Sunken Garden

Harry and William are said to have barely spoken in the past 18 months

Harry also spoke to Earl Spencer, his mother’s brother, at the Spencer-dominated event, shaking his hand

Lovely to see you! Prince Harry shared a light-hearted moment with his uncle and aunts during the short event this afternoon

Kisses for their aunts: Lady Sarah McCorquodale, 66, left, beamed as she greeted her nephew Prince Harry, 36, with a kiss on the cheek in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace. Right, Prince William, 39, with Lady Jane Fellowes, 64

‘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,’ it added. 

‘Not what was her station, but has she a heart?’ Moving lines of verse engraved by Diana statue 

In front of it is a paving stone engraved with an extract after the poem The Measure of A Man by Albert Schweitzer, which was read at the 2007 memorial service marking the 20th anniversary of her death.

It read: ‘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?’

Schweitzer was a French theologian, writer and philosopher who lived from 1875 to 1965. He is well-known for his writing on Christian mysticism. 

In 1952, he received a Nobel Peace Prize for a work of philosophy, becoming the eighth Frenchman to be awarded that prize.

Princess Diana was known to enjoy poetry, and was once given one in a silver frame by Dodi Al Fayed. Harry has also recited poems on public occasions, as has his wife Meghan.   

The portrait and style of dress featured was based on the ‘final period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes’, they said.

It added that the statue ‘aims to convey her character and compassion’. Beneath the statue is a plinth engraved with the Princess’ name and the date of the unveiling.

In front of it is a paving stone engraved with an extract after the poem The Measure of A Man by Albert Schweitzer, which was read at the 2017 memorial service marking the 20th anniversary of her death. 

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?’

Hundreds of mourners gathered outside from dawn with Diana’s fans travelling from all over the UK to west London for the poignant commemorative event today. 

Prince Harry arrived 15 minutes before the event and left after 90 minutes. It is not known if he was heading to Frogmore Cottage or Heathrow Airport to fly back to be with Meghan, Archie and Lilibet in Los Angeles.   

Sources close to Earl Spencer have said that there is a hope that the celebration of their mother’s life and legacy will bring Harry and William together again after months of discord over the Sussexes’ decision to quit the royal family and subsequent interviews in which they publicly criticised the royal family.  

However Omid Scobie, the Sussexes’ preferred royal reporter, played down the idea of a public reconciliation ahead of the event. 

He said: ‘What we will see is two brothers being professional in a moment that is not about them. This is going to be a moment we see them put everything to one side. We will just see professionalism and nothing else.’

The portrait and style of dress featured was based on the ‘final period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes’, they said

Diana statue sculptor crafted Queen’s head that appears on all British coins 

Harry and William selected renowned artist Ian Rank-Broadley (pictured) to carry out the work, which was unveiled in the grounds of Kensington Palace today

The statue of Princess Diana was created by renowned artist Ian Rank-Broadley,  whose effigy of the Queen has appeared on all coins in the UK and Commonwealth since 1998. 

The 69-year-old is one of the most renowned British sculptors, and produced a bronze depicting the harrowing realities of war that became the focal point of the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire.   

Born in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, the artist was educated at Epsom School of Art and the Slade School before continuing his studies at the British School in Rome. 

On his return to the UK he set up as a professional sculptor specialising in carved panels on monuments. In recognition of his talents he was made a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in 1996 and granted the Freedom of the City of London. 

Among his royal connections, he is a trustee to The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, which was set up by the Prince of Wales in 2005.  His works are in the permanent collections of the British Museum, London’s National Portrait Gallery, the Ashmolean Museum, Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge and St Paul’s Cathedral. 

Announcing Mr Rank-Broadley’s appointment in 2017, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry said: ‘Ian is an extremely gifted sculptor and we know that he will create a fitting and lasting tribute to our mother.

‘We look forward to unveiling the statue, which will allow all those who visit Kensington Palace to remember and celebrate her life and legacy.’

‘Statesmanlike’ Prince William took on the ‘older brother role’ while Prince Harry was ‘flamboyant but tense’ as they reunited for unveiling of Princess Diana statue, body language expert reveals

‘Statesmanlike’ Prince William took on the ‘older brother role’ while ‘flamboyant’ Prince Harry was ‘tense’ as they attended unveiling of Princess Diana statue on what would have been her 60th birthday, a body language expert has revealed. 

The Duke of Cambridge, 39, and Duke of Sussex, 36, were pictured standing shoulder-to-shoulder before revealing a statue created in Princess Diana’s honour by Ian Rank-Broadley and placed in the remodelled Sunken Garden, a place of solace and safety for her before she died in 1997. 

The brothers are said to have barely spoken and have an ‘incredibly strained’ relationship after two years of rows over Harry’s wife and her alleged treatment of staff, the couple’s decision to emigrate to America and the tonnes of ‘truth bombs’ the Sussexes have dropped in TV interviews watched by tens of millions of people around the world. 

‘Statesmanlike’ Prince William took on the ‘older brother role’ while ‘flamboyant’ Prince Harry was ‘tense’ as they attended unveiling of Princess Diana statue on what would have been her 60th birthday, a body language expert has revealed

The siblings are marking their mother’s 60th birthday by unveiling a sculpture created in her honour by Ian Rank-Broadley and placed in the remodelled gardens she loved all packed with 4,000 of her favourite plants and flowers

Body language expert Robin Kermode told FEMAIL Prince William was ‘reminiscent of his grandfather Prince Philip’ at the event, taking on a ‘strong, confident, statesmanlike role’.

Meanwhile he said Prince Harry’s wild hand gestures and tense jaw indicated he was ‘less comfortable than he was trying to appear.’ 

As the brothers arrived, Robin said the brothers appeared ‘very much in sync’, adding: ‘They walking at the same pace, mirroring outer arm, hand and body movements. But William seems more aware of the cameras than Harry.

‘William looking reminiscent of his grandfather’s body language, strong, confident and slightly cheeky. He’s looking very much the older brother here. 

‘His body language is more formal than Harry’s accentuated by his buttoned up jacket. Overall he seems more aware of the importance visually of this meeting.’

He added: ‘Harry looking more relaxed, almost carefree here, well there is still some tension in his right hand playing with the jacket button.’

As the brothers met with the Spencer family and chatted with their relatives ahead of the statue unveiling, the body language expert said Harry was ‘more flamboyant’ than his brother, adding: ‘Once again Harry is using his arm as a demonstrator. 

‘His body language is more flamboyant today then William’s who is keeping his arms centred around navel height – traditionally the pose of a leader or a man of status.’ 

The brothers are said to have barely spoken and have an ‘incredibly strained’ relationship after two years of rows over Harry’s wife and her alleged treatment of staff

The body language expert revealed Prince Harry was ‘not as comfortable as he was trying to appear’ at the event today 

Robin said William appeared ‘thoughtful and in control’ at the event while Prince Harry looked ‘more nervous’. 

The body language expert added: ‘Harry’s hand again is higher than navel height, giving him a higher centre of gravity suggesting he might not be as comfortable as he is trying to appear.’  

The Duke of Sussex also appeared ‘to be struggling showing tension in his lip corners, jaw and eye brows.’

Robin added that at times, ‘Harry’s fixed stare is accentuated by his playing with his ring finger.’ 

Meanwhile the 36-year-old’s decision to ‘pull harder on the rope’ indicated Harry’s new awareness that he ‘doesn’t have to appear as statesmanlike as his older brother.’

He added: ‘We can only imagine the mixed emotions both brothers must be feeling here.

‘William remains upright, formal and referential, while Harry looks lift his shoulders and bless his hands on his hips. This is often a defiant gesture suggesting some internal unease.’    

Body language expert Darren Staunton said that despite their differences, the brothers’ bond appeared to shine through at the event.

He said: ‘Although it was clearly a very powerful and emotional event for both William and Harry I think it’s very obvious especially as a body language expert that the two brothers still have a very very strong bond between each other.

‘I did not see any micro expressions, which are fleeting flashes of emotion that someone tries to bask in uncomfortable situations so for example if someone were feeling anger put trying to convey calmness make sure the motion would still emerge or as we say leak out, I did not see any such gestures, especially for Prince William.’

Meanwhile he said despite stepping back from royal duty, the Duke of Sussex had fallen back into his royal ways effortlessly. 

He explained: ‘As ever although not officially a royal, Prince Harry effortlessly slipped back into a very Royal conduct and behaviour.

‘From the eye contact and non-verbal communication that was visible between the two it was clear they were sharing a very powerful connection and I believe no matter what the situation between the two they will undoubtedly remain supportive of each other despite the past disagreements.’

‘In a conclusion both Prince Harry and Prince William seems to have weathered all of the attention they have received from the world‘s media in respect of Harry removing himself from royal life and affectively emigrating to the USA.’

He added: ‘I’m sure as time goes on we will probably see a lot more Prince Harry as it is clear in my opinion anyway.

‘He will not just disappear to Los Angeles.’

Harry and Wills’ kisses for their aunts: Princes greet Diana’s sisters Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes as they join Earl Spencer to unveil statue of their mother at Kensington Palace

    Princess Diana’s siblings reunited at Kensington Palace today for the unveiling of their sister’s statue on what would have been her 60th birthday. 

    Lady Sarah McCorquodale, 66, Lady Jane Fellowes, 64, and Charles, Earl Spencer, 57, joined their nephews Prince William, 39, and Prince Harry, 36, for the intimate ceremony in the remodelled Sunken Garden.  

    The warmth between the princes and their aunts was clear as they greeted each other with an affectionate kiss on the cheek. Lady Sarah beamed as she held onto Harry’s shoulder and appeared to whisper something into his ear.

    The Duke of Sussex (centre) with his aunt Lady Jane Fellowes and uncle Earl Spencer, making them laugh

    In good spirits: Earl Spencer, who oversees the family estate of Althorp, smiled as he chatted to Prince Harry today

    Reunited: Princess Diana’s eldest sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale and younger brother Earl Spencer (right) arriving

    Close family: Earl Spencer with Lady Sarah (back to camera) and Lady Jane (in green, right) before the intimate ceremony

    Remembering their sister: Earl Spencer follows his sister Lady Jane (foreground) to the Sunken Garden at the palace

    Private event: Earl Spencer, Lady Jane (behind, in green) and Lady Sarah (back to camera) ahead of the ceremony today


    Dapper: Earl Spencer looked smart in a suit and tie as he arrived for the event at Kensington Palace this afternoon

    After you: Lady Jane (in front, in green) led the siblings as they made their way to the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace

    Earl Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale (right) and Lady Jane Fellowes (left) leaving Kensington Palace Prince

    Later Prince Harry, who appeared excited throughout the event, smiled widely as he shared a light-hearted moment with his aunts and uncle Charles.  

    Lady Sarah, Lady Jane and Charles, Earl Spencer, have all remained close to their nephews since Princess Diana’s death.

    Charles and his wife Karen sat front row at Prince William’s 2011 wedding to Kate Middleton, with his three daughters and one son in the row just behind. 

    In pride of place next to the Middleton family too was Lady Sarah and Lady Jane, while Lady Anne Wake-Walker, Diana’s aunt also had a place in the pew.  Harry was also seen chatting to his uncle before the ceremony.

    The Spencers were also in attendance at Harry’s wedding to Meghan in 2018. 

    In 2019, the Sussexes shared a photo of Archie’s christening, which showed the Duke and Duchess with their son and Lady Jane and Sarah alongside the Duchess of Cornwall, The Prince of Wales, Doria Ragland, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cambridge in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle. 

    They didn’t attend the christenings of the Cambridge children, however neither did Charles’ siblings. 

    ‘There is a hint of Theresa May’: Diana statue by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley draws comparisons to former PM as it divides opinion with others saying it looks ‘stunning’ and ‘made them cry’ 

    The statue of Princess Diana unveiled in the gardens of Kensington Palace today drew unlikely comparisons to Theresa May, as other commentators said it looked ‘stunning’ and ‘made them cry’. 

    ‘There is a hint of Theresa May’, wrote one Twitter user next to a mocked-up image of the bronze, while another added: ‘Can’t disagree unfortunately, that’s Theresa May right there’. 

    The statue by Ian Rank-Broadley depicts Princess Diana in the ‘more confident’ later years of her life aims to reflect her ‘warmth, elegance and energy’, the sculptor said today – as it was met with a mixed reaction. 

    THE REALITY: The statue of Princess Diana that was unveiled today in the gardens of Kensington Palace by Princes William and Harry 

    MOCK-UP: The statue drew unlikely comparisons among Twitter users to former Prime Minister Theresa May 


     


    Princess Diana outside Royal Brompton Hospital in 1995 wearing a similar outfit to the one in the statue (left) and Mrs May in London (right)

    Well-wishers called the monument ‘lovely’ and ‘gorgeous’, while one Twitter user wrote: ‘Wonderful, I knew it would be Diana with kids.’

    Royal expert Penny Junor told MailOnline: ‘I think it looks stunning. And I love the larger than life size and the fact that she has three children with her. It looks like a magnificent piece of art.’ 

    However, others called the bronze unrealistic, with one commentator writing: ‘Ok, I’ll be the first to say it, I’m underwhelmed by the statue. Not a good likeness of Diana and what is she wearing?’ 

    Princes William and Harry were seen chatting together during the monument’s unveiling as they put aside their feud today to honour their mother in what would have been her 60th birthday. 

    The statue shows Diana wearing a sleek open-necked blouse, a wide belt and a pencil skirt, while her hands are gently placed on the shoulders of two of the children – a boy and a girl, with the girl holding the princess’s hand.

    Mr Rank-Broadley may have taken inspiration from a 1993 Christmas card which shows the princess wearing the same top and belt, while one of her arms is also outstretched. 

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