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After a very public rift, seeing William and Harry together again felt like a return to the old days

Written by on 01/07/2021

The smiles were striking as the brothers walked into the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace where they lived with their mother.

Watching them it felt like a return to the old days, and the many engagements I’ve attended with them both bouncing off each other in a way that only brothers can.

They had the air of two men enjoying each other’s company on what is an incredibly poignant day for them both, the day that their mother would have marked her 60th birthday.

Prince William and Prince Harry at the unveiling of Princess Diana's statue at Kensington Palace
Image: Prince William and Prince Harry at the unveiling of Princess Diana’s statue

They couldn’t have appeared more relaxed as they talked to Diana‘s brother and sisters.

The small gathering and a friendly crowd, just what they needed after the very public rift that has blown up between them.

When they announced their intention to commission a statue back in 2017 – the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death – it was anticipated that the unveiling would be a much larger public event.

It is, after all, designed to be a lasting memorial to recognise the impact their mothers work had on people in the UK and around the world.

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Yes, COVID-19 restricted the numbers, but I suspect the small low key event is also how the brothers wanted it.

The limited number of press allowed inside for the unveiling was viewed by some as a sign of Harry‘s continued mistrust of the UK press.

The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex arrive for the unveiling of a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, on what would have been her 60th birthday. Picture date: Thursday July 1, 2021.
Image: The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex appeared to enjoy each other’s company

But don’t forget both brothers have reasons for being wary of the media attention, all sparked by how they perceived their mother was treated in the final years of her life. Because of that, William and Harry will hate the way that their every move was being dissected.

For them, this day was about their mother – and the statue itself certainly merited attention. Not just because it’s been four years in the making, but because the design was striking and in some ways unexpected, with Diana surrounded by three children.

The Duke of Sussex (centre) with his aunt Lady Jane Fellowes and uncle Earl Spencer, at the unveiling of a statue of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, London, on what would have been her 60th birthday. Picture date: Thursday July 1, 2021.
Image: The Duke of Sussex with his aunt Lady Jane Fellowes and uncle Earl Spencer

But it was a depiction that very much fits with how Harry and William have followed in her footsteps, using her position in the spotlight to shine a light on others in need.

As members of the Royal Family, they both know what it means to put on appearances for the sake of not feeding any further the stories about them falling out.

The Princess of Wales, accompanied by Prince William and Prince Harry, arrives at the Queen's Medical Centre to visit Prince Charles. Sep 1990
Image: Diana and her boys arriving at the Queen’s Medical Centre to visit Prince Charles in 1990

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Because of that, we’ll never fully know if the apparent thaw in relations between Harry and William was a case of putting differences to one side for the cameras, and just for one day.

But one thing that will never be in doubt is their joint desire to publicly remember their mother, and their genuine love for her – now forever etched on this statue that they worked together to create.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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