24/09/2021

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Princess Diana’s memorial statue to be open to the public on death anniversary

The statue of Diana, Princess of Wales in the sunken garden at Kensington Palace

Samir Hussein/WireImage

Next week brings with it a poignant milestone, as Tuesday 31 August marks 24 years since the tragic death of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Those who wish to pay tribute to the People’s Princess will be able to do so at the recently unveiled memorial statue of the royal in the Kensington Palace Gardens, which is to be open outside of its usual times especially for the significant day.

The statue in The Sunken Garden in Kensington Palace

Jonathan Brady / POOL / AFP

The Sunken Garden at the Palace, home to the new statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, is currently open to the public only on Wednesdays to Sundays, between 10am and 17.45pm. According to Hello!, however, the garden will be open on Tuesday 31 August to coincide with Diana’s death anniversary. Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) explained that arrangements had been put in place to allow visitors to view the statue between 3pm and 5pm on Tuesday – 24 years on from her death following a car accident in Paris, in August 1997.

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A spokesperson is quoted as stating: ‘We acknowledge that there will be interest in viewing the statue on that day. So we will be providing access to the Cradle Walk which is essentially the beautiful walkway around the Sunken Garden. We will be opening that up, freely available, for passers-by or anybody who wants to stop and take a moment on that Tuesday, specially for the anniversary.’

The Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex at the unveiling of the memorial statue

Dominic Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images

After much anticipation and a number of delays, the statue was finally unveiled by Diana’s sons, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex, on 1 July this year – what would have been their late mother’s 60th birthday. Set in the Sunken Garden, which was a favourite spot of Diana’s, the statue was commissioned by Princes William and Harry in 2017.

Diana’s siblings join Princes William and Harry at memorial statue unveiling

Created by British sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, the bronze rendering of Diana was intended ‘to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world, and help future generations understand the significance of her place in history’, relates the HRP website. It aims to ‘reflect the warmth, elegance and energy of Diana, Princess of Wales, in addition to her work and the impact she had on so many people.’

The surrounding garden has undergone an extensive redesign since October 2019, worked on by five gardeners over a total of 1,000 hours. It is now home to over 4,000 individual flowers, including over 500 lavender plants, 300 tulips, over 200 roses, and 100 Forget-me-nots – a favourite of the late royal’s.

Everything you need to know about Ian Rank-Broadley, the sculptor responsible for Princess Diana’s memorial statue

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