Analysis by Max Foster, Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Rob Picheta, CNN
Just seeing Princes William and Harry in the same space is rare enough these days, let alone at an event they organized together. But that’s where we found ourselves Thursday — at the unveiling of the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales. The two were intimately involved in the design of the long-awaited artwork and the redesign of the Sunken Garden around it.
According to Kensington Palace, this was one of Diana’s “favourite locations” and it’s where the young princes played growing up. The poignancy and nostalgia of the moment weren’t lost on anyone.
For the first time since Harry left Kensington Palace to set up his own household with Meghan, the brothers issued a joint statement: “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.
“Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy.”
Memorializing and commemorating their mother and her impact on society is an incredibly important mission for the brothers. They knew everyone would be watching how they interacted and set the tone of the event by entering in conversation and with broad smiles on their faces. They appeared at ease, warmly greeting their aunts — Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes — with kisses before laughing and joking with family and guests at the small ceremony.
At times it almost felt like it once was — brothers standing shoulder to shoulder, firmly focused on a single goal. Harry seemed a little more relaxed than his brother, making a few quips and gestures to invitees and engaging in some light banter. But that was like old times, too … Harry the joker, against William’s more reserved positioning as king-in-waiting.
They co-commissioned the artwork in 2017 from the sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley and wanted it to “reflect the warmth, elegance and energy of the Princess in addition to her work and the impact she had on so many people,” according to Kensington Palace.
She is seen surrounded by three children, who “represent the universality and generational impact of The Princess’ work,” with the brothers choosing to cast their mother’s image “based on the final period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes.”
In a low-key but tightly choreographed event, the brothers each took a corner of the fabric covering the statue and revealed their mother immortalized in bronze. They looked at each other, clearly pleased with how it had all played out.
They had worked together on every aspect of the project, with their teams coordinating the media arrangements at the unveiling, and both appeared to get what they wanted out of it.
Make no mistake, the issues that have pulled the brothers apart remain. Thursday’s event will not have magically resolved the challenges they share or the fact that they are “on different paths at the moment.” But it did feel like a coming together for the two brothers. They have grown apart personally but are still able to work together professionally for common causes — and the one thing that will always unite the estranged siblings is keeping their mother’s exceptional legacy alive.
ROYAL FANS GATHER OUTSIDE
Hundreds of royal well-wishers gathered outside Kensington Palace despite the closed family event for the statue unveiling. They left tributes and cards at Diana’s former residence to mark what would have been her 60th birthday. A small group even sang “Happy Birthday” for the late Princess.
DIANA AT 60: HOW WOULD THE PRINCESS OF WALES HAVE DRESSED IN 2021?
Princess Diana’s wardrobe has been immortalized in everything from books and exhibitions to photo shoots and even a musical. From her fairytale wedding gown to the so-called “revenge dress” she wore after Prince Charles admitted to infidelity, royal fans adored her style transformation.
Today there is still plenty of nostalgia surrounding the Princess of Wales’ style, and designers continue to be inspired by her ensembles. Diana was known for using her wardrobe for tactful, defiant and symbolic statements but she was also a trendsetter, making garments go viral in the days before that was even a thing.
“Her style was so very much her own,” said Jack Carlson, whose label Rowing Blazers recently launched a Diana-inspired clothing line. “She was not a follower. To the contrary, she did her own thing, and we all watched in wonder and tried to keep up.”
Fashion researcher Eloise Moran, who founded the Instagram account Lady Di Revenge Looks, describes Diana as “a true chameleon,” adding that the “People’s Princess” liked “to mix things up, from both high and low designers.” She continued, “I know that would still be the case if she were alive today.”
CNN Style took a look back at the influences that informed her style — and how they might have shaped her look today. Read the full story here.
The royals are throwing a party, and it’s going to be a big one.
Buckingham Palace has promised one memorable party for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year — and the first details of the event appear to live up to the billing.
The one-day pageant will be a “reopening ceremony for the UK,” organizers said as they unveiled some of their plans at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Tuesday. A marching band, circus acts and street theater will spill out onto the streets of central London. And no celebration would be complete without a giant dragon puppet, right? The one on show at next June’s event will be larger than a double-decker bus, with a wingspan the width of the famous Mall road that leads up to Buckingham Palace.
The pageant on June 5 forms part of a four-day weekend of events to mark the Queen’s unprecedented 70th year on the throne. No other monarch has reached a Platinum Jubilee; Elizabeth II became the UK’s longest-serving head of state in 2015.
By pitching the festivities as Britain’s grand comeback from the pandemic, officials are clearly hoping that the specter of Covid-19 will be in the rearview mirror. A need for social distancing would damp all of the weekend’s events, which also include a concert outside the palace and full-fledged Trooping the Colour.
If all goes well, the weekend could be a royal pick-me-up for Britain. “The Platinum Jubilee weekend is an opportunity for the country to emerge re-energised and renewed, expressing optimism and confidence,” Nicholas Coleridge, the pageant co-chairman, said Tuesday. “It will be something of a reopening ceremony for the United Kingdom, following a period of uncertainty and hardship, a catalysing moment of unity and fun.”
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING
The Queen ramps up her diary once more.
On Friday, the Queen will meet with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Windsor. It caps off a busy week for the monarch, who only just got back home after her traditional annual trip to Scotland for Royal Week. During the four-day visit, the Queen toured the factory that makes the country’s iconic orange Irn-Bru soda — though she left Prince William to sample a cup on her behalf. Then it was back to work, with the monarch meeting Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for the first time in several months. “It’s very nice to be back again, a year’s gap is incredible,” the Queen said. Their sit-down came hot on the heels of her first face-to-face audience since the pandemic struck with Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week, and just days after she dropped in on the G7 and welcomed President Joe Biden to Windsor. After a year in isolation, the 95-year-old’s schedule is packed once again.
Philip was on William’s mind during a shipyard visit.
The late Duke of Edinburgh would have been fascinated to see a new warship under construction, Prince William said as he toured a shipyard in Scotland this week. William said workers building the new anti-submarine HMS Glasgow vessel were “rightly proud” of their “truly staggering” project. And the tour brought back memories of his grandfather, who served in the Navy during World War II and died in April aged 99. “My family’s affection for the Royal Navy is well known, and, as I saw the work taking place here today, I was thinking of my grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh,” William said. “He would have been fascinated and excited to see such advances in skills and technology being put into practice.”
‘The Crown’ fills out its new cast.
Addicts of Netflix’s hit royal drama “The Crown” still have some time to wait until its fifth season arrives. But the show’s latest cast is taking shape. “Trainspotting” star Jonny Lee Miller has signed up to play former UK Prime Minister John Major, Netflix revealed last Friday. It’s a left-field choice for the Conservative Prime Minister, who served between 1990 and 1997, but the show is known for its actors’ remarkable physical transformations. Imelda Staunton is stepping into Olivia Colman’s shoes to play the Queen as the show tackles a turbulent era in royal history. Elizabeth Debicki, Dominic West and Jonathan Pryce are all on board, too.
Diana would have been ‘so proud.’
Prince Harry this week told recipients of the Diana Award that his mother would have been proud of them, in a surprise congratulatory message to those who have worked on issues related to the pandemic. “Thank you for inspiring us with your brilliance, your determination and your compassion,” he said in a video message shared on the Instagram page of the Diana Award — the only charity set up in memory of the Princess of Wales, who died in 1997. “Our mum believed that young people have the power to change the world. She believed in your strength because she saw it day in, and day out,” he added.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
It was a big night for English football Tuesday, with the country’s team finally emerging victorious against historic rivals Germany. England hadn’t won a knockout match against Germany in a major international competition since 1966. An ecstatic William, Kate and George joined delighted soccer fans in celebration at Wembley to watch the Euro 2020 last-16 match. The family were joined in the royal box by other British celebrities, including David Beckham and Ed Sheeran.
FROM THE ROYAL VAULT
A car given to Princess Diana by Prince Charles as an engagement present has sold for more than £52,000 ($72,000) at auction. Diana drove the 1981 Ford Escort Ghia “in the early and happiest part of her relationship with the Prince of Wales,” auctioneer Reeman Dansie said. And the vehicle fetched more than the auction house had estimated — despite its famous previous owner helping to rack up more than 83,000 miles on the clock. Read more on this story here.
The monarch made the statement during a visit to the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute on Thursday, PA Media reported. She joined a climate discussion during her final engagement of Royal Week in Scotland. It’s quite rare for the Queen to share an opinion publicly on a major political issue.
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