Prince William and Prince Harry are set to unveil a new statue of their late mother, Princess Diana, later this week. The royal brothers commissioned the statue – by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley – in 2017, but the official unveiling was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
In a joint statement from Kensington Palace at the time, they said: ‘The princes hope the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on their mother’s life and legacy.’
They added: ‘It has been 20 years since our mother’s death and the time is right to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world with a permanent statue.’
The Duke of Sussex has flown back to the UK from his home in California to attend the service, and there will be fewer guests than originally planned as a result of the ongoing Covid crisis.
The Telegraph has reported that the statue was delivered to Kensington Palace this weekend and is overlooking the Sunken Garden, hidden inside a box until its official reveal on what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday.
However, according to reports, the Duke of Cambridge will visit the statue privately with his wife, Kate Middleton, and their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, before the event with his brother on Thursday.
Harry, who arrived in the UK on Friday, is said to be staying at Frogmore Cottage during his trip and is also expected to visit the statue privately before the ceremony.
The event will be the first time that the brothers have met face-to-face since their grandfather, Prince Philip’s, funeral in April, although the newspaper reports that there is no intention for either party to offer an ‘olive branch’.
A royal source said: ‘I fear it will be the same as at Prince Philip’s funeral, a nod of recognition and that’s about it.’
The unveiling of the statue will take place at Kensington Palace on Thursday 1st July.