The long-anticipated meeting of the two British Princes, William and Harry, finally took place in central London, amidst months of tension and turmoil caused by the royal family’s internal strife. The occasion was to unveil a statue in honour of their late mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday. The statue, created by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, depicts Diana standing between a boy and a girl, and was revealed in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, her former home.
In a joint statement, the brothers expressed their fond memories of their mother and the impact she had on the world, saying, “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.”
The event was a private and small one, attended by William, Harry, their mother’s brother Charles Spencer, and her sisters Sarah McCorquodale and Jane Fellowes. It was held in the Sunken Garden, a place that held special significance for Diana. Although the ceremony was not open to the public, images of the event were published on social media shortly after the statue’s unveiling.
The relationship between William and Harry has been strained in recent years, with the media following their every move and speculating about their feud. Royal commentator Penny Junor stated that she expected the event to be “very awkward” between the brothers. However, the occasion seemed to have been successful, with both brothers showing a united front in their speeches and actions.
Diana’s legacy continues to be celebrated almost 25 years after her untimely death in a car crash in Paris. Her life and death have been a regular feature in British newspapers, and the unveiling of the statue was eagerly anticipated. William and Harry commissioned the statue in 2017 to mark her legacy and life, and they eventually selected Rank-Broadley as its designer.
The two princes have spoken in the past about the deep trauma that they suffered after their mother’s death, and how it affected their mental health for years afterwards. The event marks the second public meeting between the brothers since Harry and his wife Meghan Markle stepped down from their official royal duties last year. The two brothers are expected to meet again next year for celebrations of their grandmother’s 70 years as queen.
Finding a way to mend the rift between William and Harry is crucial to the monarchy, as Britain’s royal family seeks to appeal to a younger and more diverse population. With the younger generation demanding change and transparency, the royal family needs to find ways to adapt and stay relevant.