Ahead of Princess Diana's death anniversary, the royal brothers announced that they will unveiling this permanent sculpture at Kensington Palace.
Families fall out all the time, but for Princes William and Harry, unfortunately, it has been rather public because of their positions in the monarchy and the media attention they get. While the two brothers no longer live on the same continent, they united to honor their mother, Princess Diana. She was the one person who loved them unequivocally and continues to be a large part of their lives.
Princess Diana died on August 31, 1997, and it's been 23 years since the 15-year-old William and 12-year-old Harry had to say their final goodbye to their mother. In 2020, Prince Harry also bit farewell to his role as the senior member of the royal family.
However, after many months of rumors about their estrangement, the brothers came together to make an important announcement. It was the first joint statement that the siblings made since Harry's move with Meghan and Archie. They announced that a statue of Princess Diana, which they had commissioned in 2017 to mark the 20th anniversary of her death, will be installed on her 60th birth anniversary, according to BBC. It will be placed in the garden of the London palace on July 1, 2021. The statue is meant to "recognise her positive impact". The princes said they want the sculpture to "reflect on her life and her legacy". "Our mother touched so many lives," they said.
The Kensington Palace said that the sculpture's installation was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but it would be unveiled in the Sunken Garden next year. It was created by artist Ian Rank-Broadley, whose portrait of the Queen appears on all UK coins.
Every year, William and Harry spent their mother's death anniversary together but for the first time since they lost her, they won't be doing that on August 31. Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told Express.co.uk, "The anniversary of Diana's death is always a very special day for William and Harry. They will undoubtedly communicate virtually on this sad day."
"They may well post photographs, which carry special memories of their mother, on social media so they can be shared with all of us," he added.
Princess Diana passed away 23 years ago in a car crash in Paris. She was traveling with her partner Dodi Al Fayed, and the chaffeur drove at a high speed paparazzi on their toes. She had reportedly been worried about her safety before her death and decided to keep staying at Kensington Palace, even though she felt spied upon by the staff there, said royal biographer Richard Kay to Express.co.uk. She had moved into Apartment 8 and 9 at Kensington Palace after marrying Prince Charles in 1981 and kept the home at the palace after their 1996 divorce.
"It was a mixture for her. In many ways, it was a happy home and she had a lot of happy memories here raising William and Harry in the early days of the marriage, which were actually quite happy. But it later became a prison for her," said Kay. "It symbolized everything which she found so frustrating about being a royal Princess. She felt spied on but the spying was only for her own protection. The security cameras you see all over the place. She felt that the police that guarded the palace were constantly reporting on her movements, who her friends were, who came to see her."
"It became a real difficulty for her because she couldn't really decide if she wanted to completely break free from that royal life and strike out and live outside the palace or whether she needed the protection it afforded her. In the end, by the time of her death, I think she more or less decided she needed to stay here," he added.
In this light, it makes sense that apart from the other memorials to her like the Diana Memorial Playground at Kensington Palace, the Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park, and the Diana Memorial Walk at St James's Palace, a permanent statue of hers would make Kensington its home.
Another tradition that brothers won't follow this year is their annual polo match. A royal insider was quoted as saying by Express.co.uk, "It's such a shame that Harry can't make the polo this year but he won't come back to Britain unless it's absolutely necessary." The polo match this year won't be publicized and will be held at a secret venue with only 48 spectators. It is held every year to raise money for charities the brothers endorse.
The feud between the brothers reportedly started when Prince William advised Prince Harry to not rush his relationship with Meghan Markle, who he ended up marrying and having a child with. The long-standing feud intensified after the younger brother and his wife publicly announced that they were going to step down from their roles in the monarchy.