Prince William and Prince Harry issued their first joint statement since Harry moved to the U.S. with Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Cambridge, for a very important reason. The two provided an update on a statue of their late mother, Princess Diana, which they first commissioned in 2017 on the 20th anniversary of her death. The statue will be unveiled on July 1, 2021, which would have marked Diana's 60th birthday.
"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 Friday, reports PEOPLE. "The Princes hope that the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on their mother’s life and her legacy." The statue will be installed at the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace.
Ian Rank-Broadly, the same artist who designed Queen Elizabeth II's portrait as it appears on U.K. coins, designed the statue, reports the BBC. Kensington Palace said the statue's installation was postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Ian is an extremely gifted sculptor and we know that he will create a fitting and lasting tribute to our mother," William and Harry previously said of Rank-Broadley.
Diana, the Princess of Wales, died on Aug. 31, 1997 after a car crash in Paris at age 36. William was 15 and Harry was 13 at the time. Several memorials to Diana are located throughout London, including the Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park and the Diana Memorial Playground at Kensington Palace. The White Garden memorial was also planted to mark the 20th anniversary of her death in 2017.
Friday's joint statement from William and Harry was the first from the brothers since Harry distanced himself from senior royal family duties. He moved to the U.S. with Markle to live in her native California with their son, Archie. Earlier this month, Markle said it was "good to be home" after living abroad for so long during an interview with The 19th*. In the same interview, Markle noted how her husband was not allowed to vote in the U.K., and Americans should cherish the right to vote. "When I have these conversations about encouraging people to go out and vote, I think it's often challenging for men and women alike, and certainly for people, to remember just how hard it was to get the right to vote. And to be really aware and not taking that for granted," Markle said.