By ZOE MAGEE, ABC News
(LONDON) — A much anticipated statue of Princess Diana will be installed in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace on July 1, 2021, the palace announced Friday.
“The statue that Prince William and Prince Harry have commissioned to commemorate their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, will be installed next year on what would have been her 60th Birthday,” Kensington Palace said in a statement.
The statue was first commissioned by William and Harry, Diana’s only two children, in 2017 to mark the 20th anniversary of her death.
Diana died in August 1997 after a car crash in the Pont D’Alma Bridge in Paris. William and Harry were 15 and 12, respectively, at the time.
The princes issued a statement in 2017 that said, “It has been 20 years since our mother’s death and the time is right to recognize her positive impact in the UK and around the world with a permanent statue. Our mother touched so many lives. We hope the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on her life and legacy.”
Ian Rank-Broadley, a well-known British sculptor, will complete the project. His depiction of Queen Elizabeth has been the blueprint for all British coins since 1998.
“Ian is an extremely gifted sculptor and we know that he will create a fitting and lasting tribute to our mother,” William and Harry said.
The statue was initially expected to be installed in 2019 but Kensington Palace said the “design stages of the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales have progressed but installation has been delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Instead, it will be officially installed on what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday.
“The fact that it has been delayed has ended up meaning that it will be installed on a date next year that is particularly poignant,” according to ABC News royal contributor Victoria Murphy.
It is unusual for the two princes to issue a joint statement, especially now that Prince Harry is living in the U.S.
The statement shows how important the statue of Diana is to both of them, Murphy said.
“This is a rare joint statement from William and Harry,” she said. “And I think it shows that, while they have gone their separate ways professionally, they remain very united when it comes to honoring their mother’s legacy in this way.”
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