William & Harry commission statue for Princess Diana

William & Harry commission statue for Princess Diana

This year will mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and in honor of her memory Prince William and Prince Harry have commissioned a statue of their late mother to be erected on the grounds of Kensington Palace.

William and Harry have convened a committee to raise funds for the statue, which will be paid for privately. They have yet to pick a sculptor and have no official date for an unveiling, although they hope to get it done by the end on 2017.

KP’s press release in full:

    “A statue of Diana, Princess of Wales will be erected in the grounds of Kensington Palace at the request of her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
    “The Princes have convened a committee to commission and privately raise funds for the creation of the statue. This committee will advise on the selection of the sculptor and will work with Historic Royal Palaces on the statue’s installation in the public gardens at Kensington Palace.
    “The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry said:
    “‘It has been twenty 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.’
    “While the sculpting of the statue will begin soon, it is not currently possible to advise when it will be unveiled. It is hoped that this will occur before the end of 2017.
    “Further announcements on the statue’s sculptor and design will be made in due course.”

Hrm… I hate to be a downer, but more than anything I just have questions about this. How much does a statue cost, and don’t William and Harry have enough money to fund this themselves if they really wanted a statue? Why do they have to do outside fundraising? Even if they spent a million on the statue they could still afford it themselves.

Also, is the time really right to recognize Diana? I know there are many people who still love, admire, and respect her and her legacy, but I kind of think the time to recognize her has past a bit. Like, they should have done this at the 5 or 10 year mark, not the 20 year mark. I could just be totally wrong and not reading the mood correctly at all, but growing up none of the people I knew ever mentioned Diana or were fans of hers (although there was one girl who had a crush on William and Harry). Plus, an entire generation has been born and grew up without her in the world.

Another thing: Is a statue really the best way to recognize Diana’s positive impact in the UK and around the world and honor her life and her legacy? Whenever William visits The Diana Award the press makes a big deal of the fact that it is the only charity with Diana’s name still attached. Wouldn’t creating a charity with Diana’s name in the title that benefits the causes she cared about, or create a scholarship with her name in the title, be a better way to honor her impact, life, and legacy?

A statue is nice, but I think a better use of fundraising would have been to create a scholarship or charity in Diana’s name and then have William and Harry pay for the statue themselves.

I don’t want to be a downer because I know that there are people who will be excited for this, and I don’t want to take that away from anyone, it’s just that, for me personally, I’m having a hard time being excited.

William and Harry commission statue for Princess Diana ss

Because this gives me an excuse to post photos of Diana, here you go:

48 thoughts on “William & Harry commission statue for Princess Diana

  1. I am wondering if in Harry and Williams travels, if they have encountered those very youth of the generation that have grown up without really knowing or experiencing who Diana was, that if this alarmed them to the point where they’d want the statue made. Perhaps it is because of the entire generation that doesn’t know who she is that has spurred them to this decision. Perhaps also because they are afraid to forget. Just my opinion.

    1. I think you have hit on something, Patricia; William and Harry are afraid to forget, and twenty years on, they have now reached a point where they have lived more of their lives without their mother than with her. And there’s now at least one full generation, and another half generation, who know little of Diana, if anything. It’s not out of disrespect, more that she is not part of their life experience. I think W+H don’t want the memory of their mother to sip from people’s minds. It’s unrealistic on their part to expect people to carry the same affection for Diana as they do. I respect their grief though they can’t force it onto others either.

      If a statue is what William and Harry want, surely it is best that they fund it between themselves? It can be modest. They are both men of considerable means. This fact has not been lost on many DM commenters, for what it’s worth. A gift from Diana’s sons would be a gesture to those who wish to remember her, though it will almost certainly become a shrine, which may sit uneasily in some royal circles.

      I agree with KMR here; the time has past. Seeding money for research, scholarships, or for her causes would be an ongoing tribute to her memory. Isn’t a White Garden, in memory of Diana, to be planted at KP as well? That would also be a lovely, living tribute.

  2. I agree with your reservations. The idea sounds like a vanity project rather than a genuine homage. Why not a donation (W&H money) towards a charity or the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice, supposedly the one KM is so keen about as a patron? Frankly, I hate the idea of a statue because no sculpture will be able to capture Diana’s essence let alone her likeness.

    This sounds like another bad idea from W. Will the public fork over their money when W is a multimillionaire? I wouldn’t.

  3. What’s the story with the memorial site at Diana’s childhood home? Are there many visitors these days? Couldn’t a service be held there? It seems that W&H have little to no contact with Diana’s brother.

    1. I know some people have been uncomfortable with the way that her brother has commercialized the site after her death, so I can see a different place being a more neutral choice.

      That being said, I think asking the public to pay for it, even through donations, was a poor choice. If people had heard about a privately-funded statue and sent contributions, they could have been encouraged to send it instead to one of the causes or organizations close to Diana’s heart in her honor. That, to my mind, would have been the best of both worlds.

  4. Some of the GBP have waited 20 years for this. At last somewhere we can go all year round and leave something for her. I feel so emotional. I actually burst into tears when I heard. Just so pleased the boys have finally done this. I really didn’t think it would happen in HM’s lifetime.

    There are already charitable awards, hopsital units and buildings in her name. This is what many of the British people felt was her due. Nobody is saying it has to be vast and expensive. These things don’t have to cost milions. But those of us who loved her wanted something of her in London as a focal point for remembering her, taking flowers and just feeling there was something that was tangible for someone who made a major contribution to British life and who was recognised for that all over the world. The fact that the only memorials to her were in Harrods basement, Althorp which is closed for a lot of the year and charges to go in and that wretched pond which was permanently out of action or breaking the limbs of the kids that used it meant that we needed something. If it’s privately funded I don’t see what the problem is?

    1. I completely agree, Mrs BBV I will be meeting you there. I am thrilled. There will be a lot of their wealthy friends who will be happy to donate. And Diana is not forgotten, not by a long chalk, and the younger generation do know a lot about her. Photos of her pop up in the press all the time. Yesterday there was a lovely article in the Telegraph magazine – written by her former fashion advisor. This lady helped Diana so much, and it is clear why Diana was so successful in developing a unique style….and the glaring comparisons to Kate didn’t need to be spelled out.

      There are many statues around London, I firmly agree that Diana has earned her spot as a a statue.

      1. I am also happy that her sons are making the decision to commemorate Diana. I’m still such a huge fan of hers! The attempts in the past to honor Diana have been mostly sad and a little underwhelming. I am a little puzzled/concerned by a statue since those can sometimes turn out horrid – the Lucille Ball statue comes to mind – but a permanent memorial would be wonderful! And, true, her sons could easily fund it privately but maybe the inclusion of others will get people invested in the project and lead to other types of things like a better foundation or scholarships or such? I would love to see the spirit of the idea going forward be a more prominent project for William and Harry.

        1. That’s the first time i’ve heard that abbreviation used that way. It’s better known as the abbreviation for Pounds Sterling ie the British currency. Just as USD is the abbreviation for USA dollars.

          Eg look at currency converter website: xe.com

  5. That fountain was horrible so I don’t blame them for wanting a statue. Good luck to the person designing it, as you said it will be hard to capture Diana’s spirit in stone, or bronze.
    I have no problem with the fundraising, it will give those who feel a connection to Diana to connect with her again by giving something.

    1. The concept of the fountain was right in relation to Diana’s spirit but everything else about it was a nightmare. But I agree it’s going to be very difficult to capture the essence of her in stone / bronze / iron. I was wondering if Paul Cummins (Poppy Installation at the Tower of London) might have the key to capturing her spirit in statue form by way of ceramic use? That commission was the most incredible thing I ever saw and I am so proud to have my part of it on display in my home.

      1. Paul is a local boy for me and several of my friends were involved in making the poppies. The impact at the Tower was amazing. And when the poppies were removed the moat looked like the real Flanders Field..a sea of mud.

      2. It is amazing that you celebrate Remembrance Day for WWI, when most Americans have no idea of the significance of the date December 7, the date that was supposed to live in infamy (the day the US entered WWII due to Pearl Harbor attack). And yet many US southerners still talk about the Civil War, or the War of Northern Agression as they call it. It is interesting which events sear themselves onto our longterm cultural memory and which don’t.

      3. The poppy field was beautiful and meaningful. When I worked in a dr’s office, we had a pt who was British and wore a poppy on her outfit every time I saw her, I finally asked her about and was touched that she still remembered her husband that way.

      4. I also believe it will be hard to capture the beauty and essence of Diana in stone. Surely, it will take more time than it’s being expected for completion — if I understand the post correctly,

        I was close to ten when Diana died and loved her dearly. My childhood princess fantasy was not from Disney films or children’s stories, but from photos and footage on television of Princess Diana. To me, she was everything and more.

        It was her loving care for others that really made me believe that beautiful princesses and women in high places, as well as regular women, could and should make a difference in the world.

        I think William and Harry should pay for this on their own, though. And, I think many wealthy people who loved her would be happy to donate money, too.

        I think it will be lovely for the city of London to have her remembered like this. Just as it is lovely when people continue to remember the kind and good things she did for so many.

        I hope to get to London someday to see the stature, too. Would love my little girl to see it and then, we could talk about a woman who really made an impact on the world. And, there are many other women I can talk to her about, too.

  6. While I think it’s lovely that William and Harry want to honor their mother in this way, I agree that it should be paid for by themselves, especially since it is supposedly intended to be on KP grounds within close view of their own apartments. Not only are they rich in their own right, but they continuously take take take from the public so why should they ask for more?

    And I think that the fact that their own royal foundation assumed sole legal control of The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund in 2012–and promptly took the remaining 250k pounds from it to use as their own endowment–was a rather sneaky move. I know it was all done lawfully, but in the end they took people’s donations intended to honor Diana and used them for their own “charitable” purpose. That just stinks. How they can ask for more money for another sort of memorial is beyond me.

    1. Well, that’s a chilling fact. Most definitely, William and Harry need to fund the statue; it would be good for them to give rather than take.

    2. I agree. If they want a statue, they should pay for it themselves. The public is not demanding this. As someone said above, there may be an element of guilt about this, as if they need to publicly do more for their mother. But it is 20 years after her defeats. I think enough has been done already.

    3. I agree, they should fund it themselves. The problem is that William has taken to heart OPM. Other People’s Money.
      His whole lifestyle is funded that way, we know he’s notoriously cheap, we’re to believe he donates his salary to a charity but won’t even release the name of said charity. I’m sure it never occurred to him to pay for it them selves.
      They could help some struggling artist and commission the statue from some student/up-and comer thus getting it cheaper. And giving someone a leg up.

  7. With my art hat on, unveiling by the end of 2017 sounds very tight and a public bronze (which is what it would have to be) sculpture will be expensive, both in terms of materials, the sculptor’s time and the installation.

    It[‘s nice they want to remember her but they should be paying for at least some of this themselves and perhaps encouraging wealthy friends to help some of Diana’s charities instead

  8. I’m not in favor of this statue, but if they do it, they should consider casting it in acrylic resin, not bronze or granite. You can get a lot more detail in resin, and really play with light since the substance is translucent. It is great for faces. My favorite sculptor, Fredrick Hart (alas, deceased) made this medium the focus of his later career.


  9. Have you seen the petition saying there shouldn’t be a state visit with Teump? The last time I saw there were almost 650,000. It’ll be interesting to see if it does indeed happen

    1. There will be a state visit. Her Majesty has welcomed far worse, people like Mugabe, Zuma, not to mention the Saudis… She will meet with whoever the government requires.

      1. Theresa May needs to be careful . It’s her decision re state visits. Her lack of comments about the latest Executive Order did not go down well. You are right HM will receive whoever she is asked to. As should Charles, Camilla, Will and Kate.

  10. Oh lordy, this will end up bigly ghastly. Sad. Have you seen recent British portraiture sculpture? Just risible. And creepy off-putting. The Margaret Thatchers and Queen Mothers are especially hideous shudderful. Pray they go for something abstract.

    I like the Diana fountain. It’s very pretty and stylish, and the fact the engineering and foundations (all that muddy ground) were delusional and not really functional makes it all the more her. They should fix the fountain and put in some decent charming landscaping and seating, so it’s not just plopped down there like a missing poker chip.

        1. Diana’s charm was ephemeral, of that magic peter pan of its time and place kind. But water, the sustanance of life, the basics, also her. And sparkling! Metaphor reaches more deeply into who you are than mere representation

  11. It’s easier on them to have a statue rather than dedicating themselves to working in her style or in the fields that she worked in. Harry has picked up a couple of these (HIV/AIDS and the mines) and William does Centerpointe. But to do more would require more work which quite honestly neither of them seems willing to do beyond (thus far) what they are currently doing.

    Harry does have Invictus and Sentebale on his plate, but even with the Prince’s Trust neither of them wants to step up. So a statue, which will be a near everlasting dedication, is the perfect thing for them to do in her memory.


  12. Regarding the “an entire generation has been born and grew up without her in the world” line, I am part of this group having been born the year she died so I wanted to contribute my opinion. I and most of my friends know Diana as a mother, princess, fashion celebrity and charitable person. All of the drama and controversy surrounding her marriage and persona is not a factor unless you closely follow the royals. I didn’t even learn about the family crisis until I saw “The Queen.” But she certainly still has an impact, my dad, who is British but supports a republic, cried when she died. And along with her sons, only likes her. The more we move along from her death, the more dies with her. Young or old, republican or monarchist this is a way everyone can pay tribute to her by seeing it in person or on film.

  13. Late to this party, but I think William and Harry are honoring their mother’s association with Kensington Palace and at this time in their lives – they have no say in any other royal/crpwn property/residence.
    Yes, I think this is the time to do it, because the moment that Charles becomes King, it becomes REALLY awkward to do something publicly like this. The private fundraising means the aristocrats are going to fund it. (or the Middletons or Pippa’s in-laws). Its a gift. A statue is a permanent reminder — much like the Victoria Statue outside Buckingham Palace.

  14. I was watching MSNBC and they thought the mention of the sculpture was crawl worthy?!? Tres bizarre. But then BBC thought Peter capaldi leaving doctor who was Breaking News worthy so what do I know.

  15. When I heard this I felt that they wanted a constant reminder of what the press “did” to their mother. Now they can keep it first and foremost in people’s mind. I agree that I think it is too late.

    1. Yes. If they wanted to do something for the public in their mother’s memory and pay for it, fine, nice gesture. If there is still anger, they both need expert help to move past it, for the sake of their own mental health.

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