"If she were looking down, she would be smiling and so delighted to have brought her sons closer together again," Debbie Frank, Diana's former astrologer, said.
Prince William and Prince Harry put aside their rumored differences and came together to unveil a statue of their mother, the late Princess Diana, on July 1, 2021, to mark what would have been her 60th birth anniversary. The statue is installed in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, which is said to have been "one of the princess's favorite locations" while she lived at the palace.
Despite the difficulties among the brothers, a source told PEOPLE that the event was "gentle and intimate — it felt like a release."
"You had Diana's sisters, her brother, and her sons reminiscing. It was beautiful and poignant because it was an intimate family occasion," one attendee said. "If she were looking down, she would be smiling and so delighted to have brought her sons closer together again," Debbie Frank, Diana's former astrologer, said.
Elizabeth Emanuel — who designed Diana's iconic 1981 wedding gown — added, "You have to look at what [this moment] represents. It is about her spirit and her kindness. For people visiting, it will be lovely, a wonderful thing to see. And peaceful."
This came as a surprise to people who watched the whole event with the eyes of a hawk to see if there were signs of a tiff amid brothers. But, for Harry and William, that day was entirely about their mother, Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris, in 1997. They were only interested in keeping their mother's legacy alive by unveiling the statue.
"In the past quarter of a century, they have placed their mother right at the heart of the royal family," historian Robert Lacey, author of the bestseller Battle of Brothers: William & Harry: The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult, told PEOPLE.
It's "something the Queen and Prince Charles certainly wouldn't have done," continues Lacey, but William and Harry "have done it together." The brothers even got together to issue a joint statement, instead of individual speeches, which speaks volumes about their dedication to come together for their mother.
"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," William, 39, and Harry, 36, said.
They added, "Every day we wish she were still with us." Previously, Lacey said that the brothers have "demonstrated a constructive way of dealing with differences."
"[They were] not sweeping [their differences] under the carpet," adds Lacey, "but acknowledging more important things and doing that in a way that warmed everyone's heart." One of Diana's close friends said that William and Harry honored their mother not just with the statue but also with the spirit of the day itself, saying, "It was their memento, and they were very dignified about it."
Sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley added that he hopes the tribute gives the siblings "solace" when they visit Princess Diana's statue. "Perhaps in the evening when the grounds are shut, they could come here for a moment of quiet reflection. I hope that will give them some sort of comfort."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Jonathan Brady-WPA Pool