Can the Royal Family set aside their rifts for a special occasion?
The answer appears to be… sort of. On Thursday, a new statue of Princess Diana that has been years in the making was unveiled in the redesigned Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace. The event was highly anticipated, not just because it would commemorate the beloved princess on her birthday, but because it would reunite Prince William and Prince Harry amidst their feud.
While the brothers were apparently “at each other’s throats” at the funeral of their grandfather Prince Philip earlier this year, they were able to present a united front for the occasion. They appeared to be in good spirits, and even seemed to share a laugh together (above) before the official unveiling.
The pair released a joint statement in honor of the occasion, which read:
“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 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.”
Alongside the princes, Diana’s siblings Charles Spencer, The Lady Sarah McCorquodale, and The Lady Jane Fellowes attended the unveiling, as well as Rank-Broadley (the sculptor), Morrison (who designed the garden), and Chair of Historic Royal Palaces Rupert Gavin.
Someone who didn’t show up for the emotional moment? Diana’s ex-husband Prince Charles. A source for the UK Times previously hinted that the future king wouldn’t attend because “he does find it terribly difficult.” They said:
“These moments have the potential to resurface old wounds, and it brings back memories for him; happy, sad, regretful. Since Diana’s death, he has felt it’s best to keep those memories to himself and leave his sons to it.”
Leaving your kids to deal with their grief by themselves… Well, he’s not going to be winning any parenting awards for that attitude. But it does track with things Harry has shared about his father recently.
Meanwhile, another insider for Entertainment Tonight claimed Queen Elizabeth’s oldest son simply “doesn’t want to be a distraction” at the event. (But isn’t his conspicuous absence also kind of distracting???) The source revealed:
“He and Diana had a complicated relationship after their divorce, but they came to appreciate each other.”
Uh huh. Somewhat hard to believe after finding out Charles was investigated over his deceased wife’s claim that he was going to arrange to have her killed. We’re sure he’s not hiding out in Scotland to avoid the attention of Diana’s siblings, who may not be his biggest fan. And of course, there’s always a chance he couldn’t find it in himself to set aside his feud with Harry. He definitely wouldn’t have been the most popular guy in attendance!
Anyway, we’re sure it was a lovely event befitting of the lovely new garden, which resides in a favorite location of the late princess’s from her time living at Kensington. It’s also the spot where her military vet son announced his engagement to Meghan Markle back in 2017. Morrison had reportedly been working on the garden since 2019, a task which required 1000 hours of planting and used “more than 4000 of Diana’s favourite flowers including 100 forget-me-nots and 300 tulips,” per Reuters.
The garden designer stated:
“This has been a very special project to work on, as the Sunken Garden was a favourite place of Diana, Princess of Wales. We have worked carefully to ensure that the new layout and planting scheme compliments the statue, providing a calming place for people who visit Kensington Palace to remember the princess.”
Sounds gorgeous — and no interpersonal drama or petty feuds can ruin that. We hope the tribute brings Diana’s loved ones happiness.
[Image via MEGA/WENN]