Diana's statue unveiling: Revamped 'Sunken Garden' debuts with 4,000 of princess' favorite flowers
Prince Harry and Prince William reunited on Thursday, July 1, to unveil a statue of their late mother, Princess Diana on what would have been her 60th birthday. The brothers appeared to put their personal differences aside as they walked shoulder to shoulder to reveal the monument, which was placed in the redesigned Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, often described as a place of solace and safety for the "People's Princess".
The new statue was designed and crafted by British sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley and commissioned by the two princes. As it was unveiled, viewers also caught a glimpse of the revamped Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace. One of Diana's favorite spots, the garden will now be the statue's permanent residence. According to Town & Country magazine, a number of special touches were added to the spot in honor of the Princess of Wales, such as the inclusion of several of her favorite flowers and plants.
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The magazine reported that the new layout was created by garden designer Pip Morrison, who was also present at the private unveiling ceremony. He brought in "forget-me-nots" — Diana's favorite flowers, to the garden, aside from several new pastel-colored blooms. Kensington Palace explained that the garden "retains the historic structures within a simplified layout of deeper flower borders and a more generous lawn around the pool to create a calmer and more reflective setting for the statue."
The team reportedly began working on the new garden in 2019 and has planted over 4,000 individual flowers thus far, including roses, forget-me-nots, tulips, lavender, dahlias, and sweet peas. "This has been a very special project to work on, as the Sunken Garden was a favorite place of Diana, Princess of Wales," Morrison said in a statement. "We have worked carefully to ensure that the new layout and planting scheme complements the statue, providing a calming place for people who visit Kensington Palace to remember The Princess.
During her time living at Kensington Palace, Princess Diana often sat in the Sunken Garden and commented on the flowers, according to Graham Dillamore, Deputy Head of Gardens and Estates at Historic Royal Palaces.
"While she was in residence at Kensington Palace, Diana, Princess of Wales regularly admired the changing floral displays in the Sunken Garden and would always stop to talk with me and the other gardeners who cared for it," Dillamore explained. "We’ve incorporated a number of the princess’s favorite flowers into the design, and I hope that visitors to the palace and gardens will enjoy its peaceful setting, and take a moment to reflect on the life and legacy of the princess."
That said, the Sunken Garden also holds a special place for Prince Harry, especially because it is where he and his wife Meghan Markle first announced their engagement. At the time, the pair said they chose the venue because of its meaning to Princess Diana, noting it was important for them to feel that she "is a part of this with us."