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Princes William and Harry to honor Princess Diana with statue on her 60th birthday

Despite a rumored rift between the royal brothers, they intend to come together for a permanent tribute to their late mother on the special day.
/ Source: TODAY

Princess Diana will be honored as never before on July 1, 2021.

That date marks what would have been the late royal’s 60th birthday, and, according to a new press release from Kensington Palace, it also marks the day that her sons will unveil a permanent display as a tribute to her life — a statue of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Despite rumors of a rift between Prince William and Prince Harry, the brothers will join forces for the special event, which has actually been in the works since long before those rift rumors took hold following Harry’s 2018 marriage to the former Meghan Markle.

Princess Diana
Princess Diana died at the age of 36 on Aug. 31, 1997.Tim Graham / Getty Images

In January of 2017, both princes announced plans to erect the statue on the grounds of Kensington Palace, though at the time, no date had been set for the project.

"It has been twenty years since our mother's death and the time is right to recognize her positive impact in the UK and around the world with a permanent statue," read their joint statement. "Our mother touched so many lives."

The new statement notes that while the statue’s design has progressed, the installation was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic — thus the planned reveal next year.

“The statue will be installed in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace on 1st July 2021, marking The Princess’s 60th birthday,” the statement explained. “The Princes hope that the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on their mother’s life and her legacy."

Anwar Hussein Archive Collection
Prince William arrives with his mother and brother for his first day at Eton College in Windsor, England, in 1995. Anwar Hussein / Getty Images

While the statue will be the most enduring tribute yet to Diana, it’s not the first one her sons have overseen at the same location.

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of Diana's death, her sons — as well as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge — toured the memorial White Garden at Kensington Palace, a spot filled with thousands of flowers that were planted in Diana’s honor.

The temporary display featured blooms inspired by the woman who came to be known as England's Rose, and was a transformation of the existing Sunken Garden on the grounds where Diana once lived and where the future statue of her will stand.