WorldWilliam and Harry meet to unveil Diana's statue

William and Harry meet to unveil Diana’s statue

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It only took a few minutes after the public presentation of the new statue of Princess Diana of Wales for the work to become a source of controversy on social media. Princes Harry and William met again face to face to inaugurate the monument to their mother, who would turn 60 on Thursday. It was an intimate act, with a very small audience, in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace. Sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley managed to keep the works secret for four years. This artist was also responsible for the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II that appears on all British coins.

“The statue seeks to reflect the human warmth, elegance and energy of Diana, Princess of Wales, as well as her work and the impact it has had on many people’s lives,” Kensington Palace said in a statement. The princess is portrayed with a simple blouse, a tube skirt and the short hair that characterized her, surrounded by three children of different races, symbolizing “the generational and universal impact of her tasks”. Some social media users criticized the statue’s lack of resemblance to the one being honored, and others complained about the “you little children come to me” tone that the artist sought. But the work fully pleased dozens of fans who, since the beginning of the morning, surrounded the palace with all kinds of souvenirs, tributes and objects related to the princess of the people. A series of oil portraits placed next to the grid made Rank-Broadley’s work an example of extreme hyper-realism by comparison. The restrictions by covid-19, the family’s desire for the act to be very intimate and the media’s appropriation of a story that no longer unleashes the massive hysteria that aroused at the time of his death in 1997, caused the cameras to TVs positioned around the palace drew more attention than concentration on the curious.

If the first object of curiosity was the statue itself, the second – and perhaps most anticipated – was the reunion of the two brothers, William and Harry, who had not seen each other since the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh, their grandfather, on April 17 . Every time Lady Di’s children meet, speculation arises about the possible beginning of a reconciliation. Some commentators had already wanted to see her when they left together on that occasion from the chapel of Saint George in Windsor Castle. Shortly thereafter, the family historian and author of the book battle of brothers (“Battle of brothers”), Robert Lacey, said in the Daily Mail, citing witnesses from the meeting, that the meeting ended with another heated discussion. “Every day, we would like her to stay with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen as a symbol of her life and legacy,” said William and Harry in a joint statement. “We remember her love, her strength and her personality, qualities that made her a force for good around the world, improving the lives of countless people,” they added.

Harry and William appeared unaccompanied by their respective wives, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton. Nor were the Queen and Prince Charles, who was married to Diana, present. It was practically a Spencer family act. There were Lady Di’s brothers, Charles Spencer, Sarah McCorquodale and Jane Fellowes; Rank-Broadley sculptor and landscaper responsible for redesigning Diana’s favorite garden while living in Kensington, Pip Morrison. The administration planted 200 roses of five varieties, 100 forget-me-nots, 300 tulips and 500 lavender plants, among other species, to create a new space that will be accessible to the public starting this Friday.

As the experts who populate the British tabloids and TV channels anticipated, Harry and William exhibited during the act, which was not shown live, a “professionalism” studied to avoid any gesture that could be misinterpreted. But the fact is that the closeness and affection shown between them, even when removing the green cloth that covered the statue, was inversely proportional to the affection with which the three children clung to the bronze Diana. In front of the monument, engraved in stone, you can read the same verse by Albert Schweitzer that was recited in 2017 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the princess’s death: “These are the units of measurement of the value of a woman as a woman, to margin of its origin. Not what his position was, but whether he had a heart. And how he interpreted the role that God wanted to give him”.

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