The royal brothers consulted with the Queen and Prince Charles before announcing the project yesterday, and plan to partly fund the statue themselves.
In a statement, they said: “It has been 20 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.
“Our mother touched so many lives. We hope the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on her life and her legacy.”
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The princes have convened a committee to commission the statue, which will be chaired their former private secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, a close friend and godfather to Prince George.
The committee, whose members also include Diana’s eldest sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale, and the princess’s close friend Julia Samuel, another of George’s godparents, will advise on the selection of the sculptor and help raise private funds to pay for it. Historic Royal Palaces, which runs the public parts of Kensington Palace will oversee its installation in the grounds, where it will be on permanent public display. The precise location is to be announced in the coming months.
It is hoped that the statue will be ready to be unveiled by the princes before the end of 2017, the climax of a year of tributes to the princess, who died in a Paris car crash on August 31, 1997.
Remembering Princess Diana 1961-1997
Fri, July 1, 2016
Remembering Princess Diana on what would have been her 55th birthday.
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Remembering Princess Diana on what would have been her 55th birthday
The project was consulted by Prince Harry and William with the Queen and Prince Charles
A royal insider said: “The Princes want this year to be marked by positive celebrations of their mother’s life and achievements. The statue is a central part of this”.
Our mother touched so many lives. We hope the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on her life and her legacy
Prince William and Harry
Both princes have recently opened up about their grief, with Harry revealing in December that he “buried his emotions” and wished he had talked about his mother’s death more. Earlier this month William visited a Child Bereavement UK centre in London where he comforted a young girl grieving for her father, saying: “I lost my mummy when I was very young too.”
The princes, who were 15 and 12 when their mother died, have also given the green light to a memorial garden at the palace in West London, which is to be planted with white roses, scented narcissi and a carpet of forget-me-nots and is due to open in the spring.
It will follow Diana: Her Fashion Story, a special exhibition of the style icon’s wardrobe which is due to open next month at the palace where Diana lived, and where William, Kate and Harry are now based.
Historic Royal Palaces will oversee the installation of the project
The statue follows criticism of previous memorials to Diana including a £3.6 million fountain in Hyde Park which was plagued with teething problems and initially turned the surrounding area into a “quagmire” when it rained.
Diana’s close friend Rosa Monckton, who chaired the original memorial committee, last night welcomed news of the statue.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing for her sons to do for her. They were too young when we had the memorial committee to have any meaningful input.
The Princess wanted this year to be marked by positive celebrations
Princess Diana's charitable work
Thu, December 1, 2016
Princess Diana's biggest contribution to AIDS charity work was her public persona, she was one of the first notable people photographed touching and holding HIV/AIDS patients and many experts credit her with removing the stigma associated with AIDS. To mark World AIDS Day, Express Pictures looks back at the moments Princess Diana supported those suffering with HIV/AIDS.
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Diana, Princess of Wales, arrives at the Mortimer Market Centre, a sexual health and aids clinic in London on 1st December, 1994.
“This has come at just the right time. When I chaired the original memorial committee, I felt that Diana had spent her whole life being stared at, and that she had no privacy so I particularly didn’t want statue but a fountain where children could play, because the princess loved children so much.
“Now 20 years have passed, it is entirely fitting to have a statue, which will be a wonderful tribute to a remarkable woman.”
Patrick Jephson, Diana’s equerry and private secretary between 1988 and 1996, said: “This is very good news. Princess Diana is remembered with affection all over the world, and this statue will remind future generations not only of her beauty and compassion but also her enduring place in the history of the House of Windsor.”
The statue will serve as a reminder of her place in the history of the Royal Family
Last May the Sunday Express exclusively revealed that Diana’s grave at Althorp, the Spencer family seat in Northamptonshire, is being completely overhauled following criticism that it had fallen into neglect.
The princess’s brother Earl Spencer and his wife Lady Karen are overseeing the redesign of the island and lake where she is buried “to honour her memory”, to be completed in time for the anniversary.
Earl Spencer is not on the statue committee, whose members also include John Barnes, chief executive of Historic Royal Palaces, gallery owner and art expert Gerry Farrell and fund manager Guy Monson, who is a trustee of William, Kate and Harry’s Royal Foundation.