Photos: Looking back at Diana as fans mark late royal’s 60th birthday


FILE – In this Monday, Nov. 2, 1987 file photo, Britain’s Diana, the Princess of Wales, is pictured during an evening reception given by the West German President Richard von Weizsacker in honour of the British Royal guests in the Godesberg Redoute in Bonn, Germany. For someone who began her life in the spotlight as “Shy Di,” Princess Diana became an unlikely, revolutionary during her years in the House of Windsor. She helped modernize the monarchy by making it more personal, changing the way the royal family related to people. By interacting more intimately with the public — kneeling to the level of children, sitting on edge of a patient’s hospital bed, writing personal notes to her fans — she set an example that has been followed by other royals as the monarchy worked to become more human and remain relevant in the 21st century. (AP Photo/Herman Knippertz, File)

LONDON (NewsNation Now) — Princes William and Harry will unveil a statue on Thursday of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday.

The statue unveiling in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace where Diana lived, and which is now home to William and his family, will be a small event with the princes, Diana’s close family and the sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley among the few attending.

Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 at the age of 36, when William was 15 and Harry 12.

The event will be the brothers’ second public meeting since Harry and Meghan stepped away from royal duties over a year ago, reportedly causing a rift in the family.

The relationship was further strained in March when Harry and Meghan gave an interview to Oprah Winfrey. The couple revealed that before the birth of their first child, an unidentified member of the royal family had expressed concern about how dark his skin might be.

Days after the broadcast, William responded, telling reporters that his was “very much not a racist family.”

Royal watchers will be looking closely for any signs of a truce — or deepening rift — on Thursday as fans remember the preschool teacher turned princess.

Lady Diana Spencer, 20, married Prince Charles, the heir to throne, on July 29, 1981, at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

She was known for interacting more intimately with the public — kneeling to the level of a child, sitting on the edge of a patient’s hospital bed and writing personal notes to her fans. She shook hands with a young AIDS patient in London during the early days of the epidemic, showing people that the disease couldn’t be transmitted through touch.

Prince Charles and Diana separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996, with both acknowledging extramarital affairs. 

An investigation in May found that a BBC journalist used “deceitful behavior” to secure an explosive interview with Diana in 1995, in a “serious breach” of the broadcaster’s guidelines.

Princes William and Harry have excoriated the BBC since the report’s publication, saying there was a direct link between the 1995 interview and their mother’s death in a traffic accident two years later as she and a companion were being pursued by paparazzi.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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