Public to be granted special access to new Diana statue to mark anniversary of her death

Entry to Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden will be free and visitors do not need to book

Saman Javed
Thursday 26 August 2021 14:27
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Moment Princess Diana statue unveiled by Harry and William at Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace is adding additional opening hours for members of the public who wish to visit the newly-installed statue of Princess Diana on the anniversary of her death next week.

Tuesday will mark 24 years since the Princess of Wales died in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997.

Last month, Prince Harry and Prince William reunited at Diana’s former palace to unveil a statue of their late mother on what would have been her 60th birthday.

It has been placed in the Sunken Garden, which was said to be Diana’s favourite place during her time living at the palace.

Although the statue has been open to members of the public, the palace has been operating reduced opening days because of the pandemic. Currently, guests may only visit the monument from Wednesday to Sunday.

Historic Royal Palaces (HRH), a charity that manages Kensington Palace, has acknowledged that there will be an added interest in viewing the statue on the anniversary of Diana’s death.

Therefore, it has made special arrangements to allow the public to visit the Sunken Garden on Tuesday. Visitors will be permitted to view the bronze tribute from the garden’s Cradle Walk between 3 pm and 5 pm.

“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.”

Visitors will not need to book, but they will not be allowed to leave flowers or approach the statue.

On previous anniversaries of Diana’s death, fans have left flowers and messages at Kensington Palace’s golden gates.

HRH said it does not want to detract attention from those who gather at the gates each year.

“We didn’t want to take the shine away from the Golden Gates, and from the kind of tributes that we know will be there,” the spokesman said. “It’s special for the group to have that kind of moment.”

The statue was first commissioned by Harry and William in 2017 to mark 20 years since their mother’s death.

The memorial, created by renowned sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, depicts the princess with three children to represent the “universality and generational impact” of her work, Kensington Palace said.

William and Harry said they hope the statue will be “seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy”.

“Today, on what would have been our mother’s 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character - qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better,” they said in a statement.

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