A statue of the late Princess Diana has been commissioned by her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, and will be installed on a meaningful date, Kensington Palace said in a statement on Friday, BBC News reports. The statue will be placed in a garden at Kensington Palace on July 1 next year – what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday.
Princes William and Harry commissioned the statue in 2017, marking the 20th anniversary of her death. At the time, the princes released a statement saying, “the time is right to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world with a permanent statue,” BBC News reports.
“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,” the statement continued.
The coronavirus pandemic delayed the installation of the new Diana sculpture, which will be placed in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace next year. It was created by artist Ian Rank-Broadley, who created the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II that appears on all U.K coins, BBC News reported.
Princess Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris on August 31, 1997. Prince William was 15 at the time and Prince Harry was 12.
Rumors of a strained relationship between the brothers swirled last year when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle began taking a different approach to royal life. Prince Harry spoke out about the rumors during an interview for ITV’s documentary, “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.” The royal said he loves his brother “dearly,” but they are “certainly on different paths at the moment.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have since left their senior royal duties – and HRH titles – behind and moved to the United States. It is unclear if Prince Harry will return to Kensington Palace to unveil the statue with his brother next summer.
Kensington Palace’s White Garden was planted to memorialize Diana on the 20th anniversary of her death. There are several other memorials to Diana throughout London, including the Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens, a fountain in Hyde Park, and the Diana Memorial Walk at St. James’s Palace, BBC News reports.