Thursday the 1st July 2021, would have been the 60th birthday of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. To commemorate the occasion, Diana’s sons, the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, came together to unveil a special memorial statue of their mother in Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden which is said to be have been her favourite place in all the palace gardens, where she came to seek solace and comfort from the turbulent forces in her life.
The statue was created by Ian Rank-Broadley, a royal-favourite sculptor known for his work on British coinage and on the Armed Forces Memorial. It shows Diana standing among three children, dressed in a stylish shirt and pencil skirt, accessorised with a wide belt. A statement from Kensington Palace stated that the figure ‘is surrounded by three children who represent the universality and generational impact of The Princess’ work’, while the ‘style of dress was based on the final period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes and aims to convey her character and compassion.’
I had the opportunity to visit a few days after the statue was unveiled during a hot and humid spell which I combined with a visit to the fabulous Kensington Palace with its great exhibitions on Queen Victoria. The shady cool of the tree tunnels that surround the sunken garden were something of a paradise.
Due to expected crowds, security concerns and no doubt the trampling of the beautiful sunken garden, the general public aren’t currently able to get up close and personal with the statue but that’s probably no bad thing as you can get to view it from several viewpoints around the the perimeter of the garden and the good thing is, you can view it or photograph it without those people taking awful selfies around and about!
As seems to be the case with many statues, especially those not made out of stone, initial opinion of experts and the public were divided into it being a fine memorial or something rather horrid. I must say though, it seems to fit in well with the garden and whilst I would have the little children being her young sons if it were my design, I understand that it’s not meant to be that way.
Though you have to pay to visit inside Kensington Palace, you can see the statue of Diana for free in the gardens if you know where to look. It also marks the end point of my Princess Diana Walking Tour through Ye Olde England Tours.