LONDON (NYT NEWS SERVICE).-
Bonded by childhood grief, sundered by adult quarrels, Prince William and Prince Harry came together briefly Thursday to dedicate a statue of their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, on what would have been her 60th birthday.
For a few fleeting minutes in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, the two brothers set aside a season of acrimony the anguished charges, and angry denials, of racism and callous treatment to pay tribute to a woman whose sudden death 24 years ago ended her own turbulent history in the royal family.
Gently pulling two green cords, they unveiled a bronze statue that depicted Diana with children gathered in her outstretched arms. The memorial, they said, was meant to honor her love, strength and character.
Every day, we wish she were still with us, the brothers said in a rare joint statement.
William and Harry, by all accounts, are still barely on speaking terms.
The elder brother, William, royal watchers say, is still deeply aggrieved at his younger brother for a series of interviews in which Harry and his wife, Meghan, described royal life as a kind of gilded prison and said family members held retrograde views on mental health and racial issues.
While the brothers labored to present a united front smiling occasionally they kept a palpable distance from each other as they gazed at the statue. A handful of Dianas family members watched from across the redesigned garden.
The Sunken Garden, below the apartment where she lived, was a refuge for Diana, according to officials at Buckingham Palace. She often played there with William and Harry, who later had their own quarters in Kensington Palace, before Harry abruptly announced in 2020 that he and Meghan, a biracial American former actress, would withdraw from official duties and move away from Britain.
The couple settled in Montecito, California, where Meghan recently gave birth to their second child, Lilibet Diana, whose name pays tribute both to Harrys mother and to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II (her childhood nickname was Lilibet). Meghan did not fly to London for the unveiling, and Harry was not scheduled to stay around long after the 30-minute ceremony.
Harry and William were last reunited in April at the funeral of the queens husband, Prince Philip.
After the ceremony, Harry quickly flew back to California.
The garden will be open to the public starting Friday.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times