Special access to Diana statue to mark anniversary of her death

·2-min read
The statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, by artist Ian Rank-Broadley, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
The statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, by artist Ian Rank-Broadley, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

The statue of Diana, Princess of Wales will be specially opened to well-wishers to mark the first anniversary of her death since the long-awaited memorial was unveiled.

The Princess died on August 31 in 1997 in a car crash in Paris. Tuesday will mark 24 years since she passed.

Kensington Palace and its gardens is operating reduced opening hours and usually only opens Wednesday to Sunday.

But arrangements have been made so visitors can view the statue from 3pm to 5pm on Tuesday.

Well-wishers can find the statue in the Sunken Gardens among the flowers the Princess of Wales loved.

The tribute - which depicts Diana with three children and was created by Ian Rank-Broadley - was unveiled at a ceremony in July by the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.

It was unveiled on July 1, what would have been her 60th birthday.

A spokesman for Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) said: "We acknowledge that there will be interest in viewing the statue on that day.

“So we will be providing access to the Cradle Walk which is essentially the beautiful walkway around the Sunken Garden.

Tributes attached to the Golden Gates of Kensington Palace in 2017 ahead of the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death (PA) (PA Archive)
Tributes attached to the Golden Gates of Kensington Palace in 2017 ahead of the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death (PA) (PA Archive)

"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."

Entry will be free and does not need to be booked. However, visitors will not be able to leave tributes at the statue or approach it.

Diana fans usually leave flowers and messages at gates of Kensington Palace on the anniversary of her death.

HRP said it hoped the entrance to Diana’s former London home would remain the focal point for everyone on August 31.

"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 commissioned by William and Harry in honour of their mother.

Diana, Princess of Wales (John Stillwell/PA) (PA Archive)
Diana, Princess of Wales (John Stillwell/PA) (PA Archive)

It had been due to be unveiled before the end of 2017.

William, the Duchess of Cambridge and their three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis will mark the anniversary privately.

It follows a time of turbulence for the royal family, with Harry thousands of miles away in the US with the Duchess of Sussex after stepping down from their royal duties.

Harry is publishing his memoirs next year.

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