Kensington Palace announced today that a statue of the late Diana, Princess of Wales will be erected on the Palace grounds at the request of her sons, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The statue will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death, which occurred on August 31, 1997.
The following statement was released on William and Harry’s behalf:
“It has been twenty 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.”
It is hoped it will be completed and unveiled by the end of 2017.
According to reporter Emily Nash, Prince Harry told her in May that:
“It would be very fitting on the 20th anniversary to have something that is going to last forever and is actually a proper recognition of what she did when she was alive.”
The move will likely be well-received given criticism over the years that there hasn’t been a proper memorial built in Diana’s honor. The most significant, to date, is the Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park which was opened in 2004 by Queen Elizabeth. Though its underwhelming impact isn’t surprising – it isn’t exactly the…prettiest memorial I’ve ever seen.
Anyway, the gesture is a fitting one in my opinion. Kensington, which was Diana’s residence during and after her marriage, is still best-known for being her home and if there’s going to be a large-scale statue erected in her honor, then that’s where it should be.
And while the Diana concert hosted by William and Henry at the 10th anniversary of her death in 2007 was undoubtedly a success, it seems time for a more permanent reminder to be built on palace grounds. The last point is what’s key – after the “War of the Waleses” and the strife between Diana and the House of Windsor, it’s remarkable that a memorial in her honor is to be unveiled on classically “royal” ground, as opposed to public space.