A statue of Princess Diana unveiled in the gardens of Kensington Palace today drew unlikely comparisons to Theresa May, as other commentators said it looked ‘stunning’ and ‘made them cry’.
‘There is a hint of Theresa May’, wrote one Twitter user next to an image of the bronze, while another added: ‘Can’t disagree unfortunately, that’s Theresa May right there’.
The statue by Ian Rank-Broadley depicts Princess Diana in the ‘more confident’ later years of her life aims to reflect her ‘warmth, elegance and energy’, the sculptor said today – as it was met with a mixed reaction.
Well-wishers called the monument ‘lovely’ and ‘gorgeous’, while one Twitter user wrote: ‘Wonderful, I knew it would be Diana with kids.’
Royal expert Penny Junor told MailOnline: ‘I think it looks stunning. And I love the larger than life size and the fact that she has three children with her. It looks like a magnificent piece of art.’
However, others called the bronze unrealistic, with one commentator writing: ‘Ok, I’ll be the first to say it, I’m underwhelmed by the statue. Not a good likeness of Diana and what is she wearing?’
Princes William and Harry were seen chatting together during the monument’s unveiling as they put aside their feud today to honour their mother in what would have been her 60th birthday.
The statue shows Diana wearing a sleek open-necked blouse, a wide belt and a pencil skirt, while her hands are gently placed on the shoulders of two of the children – a boy and a girl, with the girl holding the princess’s hand.
Mr Rank-Broadley may have taken inspiration from a 1993 Christmas card which shows the princess wearing the same top and belt, while one of her arms is also outstretched.
THE REALITY: The statue of Princess Diana that was unveiled today in the gardens of Kensington Palace by Princes William and Harry
MOCK-UP: The statue drew unlikely comparisons among Twitter users to former Prime Minister Theresa May
One Twitter user wrote ‘Theresa May more like’ while another said: ‘Can’t disagree unfortunately. That’s Theresa May right there’
Princess Diana outside Royal Brompton Hospital in 1995 wearing a similar outfit to the one in the statue (left) and Mrs May in London (right)
A smiling Duke of Sussex after the unveiling a statue commissioned of his mother Diana
Mr Rank-Broadley may have taken inspiration from a 1993 Christmas card which shows the princess wearing the same top and belt, while one of her arms is also outstretched
The Christmas card from 1993, in which Prince William shows a remarkable similarity to his son, Prince George
However, alongside the praise, others called the bronze unrealistic, with one commentator writing: ‘Ok, I’ll be the first to say it, I’m underwhelmed by the statue. Not a good likeness of Diana and what is she wearing?’
Rank-Broadley’s artwork was erected in the palace’s Sunken Garden, one of the places Diana loved most at the Palace.
The space has been redesigned during the past two years and features more than 4,000 individual flowers, including forget-me-nots which were adored by the princess.
The artist said: ‘Diana, Princess of Wales was an icon who touched the lives of people right around the world so it has been a privilege to work alongside Prince William and Prince Harry on this statue which commemorates her life.
‘We wanted to capture her warmth and humanity while showcasing the impact she had across generations. I hope that people will enjoy visiting the statue and the Sunken Garden, and taking a moment to remember the princess.’
Diana statue sculptor crafted Queen’s head effigy that appears on all British coins
The statue of Princess Diana was created by renowned artist Ian Rank-Broadley, whose effigy of the Queen has appeared on all coins in the UK and Commonwealth since 1998.
The 69-year-old is one of the most renowned British sculptors, and produced a bronze depicting the harrowing realities of war that became the focal point of the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire.
Harry and William selected renowned artist Ian Rank-Broadley (pictured) to carry out the work, which was unveiled in the grounds of Kensington Palace today
Born in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, the artist was educated at Epsom School of Art and the Slade School before continuing his studies at the British School in Rome.
On his return to the UK he set up as a professional sculptor specialising in carved panels on monuments. In recognition of his talents he was made a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in 1996 and granted the Freedom of the City of London.
Among his royal connections, he is a trustee to The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, which was set up by the Prince of Wales in 2005. His works are in the permanent collections of the British Museum, London’s National Portrait Gallery, the Ashmolean Museum, Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge and St Paul’s Cathedral.
The sculptor standing in front of the Diana statue today
Announcing Mr Rank-Broadley’s appointment in 2017, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry said: ‘Ian is an extremely gifted sculptor and we know that he will create a fitting and lasting tribute to our mother.
‘We look forward to unveiling the statue, which will allow all those who visit Kensington Palace to remember and celebrate her life and legacy.’
In front of the statue is a paving stone engraved with an extract inspired by the poem The Measure Of A Man: ‘These are the units to measure the worth of this woman as a woman regardless of birth. Not ‘What was her station?’ but ‘Had she a heart? How did she play her God-given part?”
The bronze shows Diana with her arms around two children, and towered over the brothers as they revealed it to the world this afternoon.
Harry left after 90 minutes despite arriving just 15 minutes before the ceremony began, and during the engagement the Duke of Sussex clapped his hands with excitement before the sculpture was revealed, and was seen laughing and joking with his uncle Earl Spencer and Diana’s sisters Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes.
At one point yelled across the garden with his hands cupped around his mouth and laughed uproariously as he larked around before making a sharp exit. It is not known if he was heading back to Frogmore Cottage – amid rumours he has organised a ‘lads lunch’ with friends – or whether he is heading to Heathrow to jet back to LA to be with Meghan, Archie and Lilibet.
But William appeared far more serious throughout the short ceremony and the awkward walk to the Sunken Garden with his younger brother after 18 months of barely talking.
In a joint statement The Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex said: ‘Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy.’
They added: ‘Today, on what would have been our Mother’s 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character – qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better’.
‘Thank you to Ian Rank-Broadley, Pip Morrison and their teams for their outstanding work, to the friends and donors who helped make this happen, and to all those around the world who keep our mother’s memory alive.’
Before the event, William appeared to be talking earnestly to his brother, who looked serious as they walked towards the ceremony in an area packed with 4,000 of Diana’s most-loved flowers and plants surrounding a rectangular pool of water.
Commissioned by the brothers in 2017 to memorialise their mother and mark the twentieth anniversary of her death, Kensington Palace said the princes ‘wanted the statue to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world, and help future generations understand the significance of her place in history’.
‘The statue aims to reflect the warmth, elegance and energy of Diana, Princess of Wales, in addition to her work and the impact she had on so many people,’ it added.
The portrait and style of dress featured was based on the ‘final period of her life as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes’, they said. It added that the statue ‘aims to convey her character and compassion’. Beneath the statue is a plinth engraved with the Princess’ name and the date of the unveiling.
In front of it is a paving stone engraved with an extract after the poem The Measure of A Man by Albert Schweitzer, which was read at the 2017 memorial service marking the 20th anniversary of her death.
It read: ‘These are the units to measure the worth Of this woman as a woman regardless of birth. Not what was her station? But had she a heart? How did she play her God-given part?’
The brothers, who have been split by Harry’s decision to leave the UK, were seen chatting in the grounds of Kensington Palace moments before the grand unveiling.
The brothers smiled as at the same time they pulled away the green cover to reveal the bronze sculpture by Ian Rank-Broadley
The bronze made by Ian Rank-Broadley shows Diana with her arms around two children, and towered over the brothers as they revealed it to the world this afternoon
The princes with sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, whose likeness of the Queen’s head adorns coins in the UK and the Commonwealth
Rank-Broadley’s artwork was erected in the palace’s Sunken Garden, one of the places Diana loved most at the Palace
Diana’s hands are gently placed on the shoulders of two of the three children – a boy and a girl, with the girl holding the princess’s hand
‘Not what was her station, but has she a heart?’ Moving lines of verse engraved by Diana statue
In front of it is a paving stone engraved with an extract after the poem The Measure of A Man by Albert Schweitzer, which was read at the 2007 memorial service marking the 20th anniversary of her death.
It read: ‘These are the units to measure the worth. Of this woman as a woman regardless of birth. Not what was her station? But had she a heart? How did she play her God-given part?’
Schweitzer was a French theologian, writer and philosopher who lived from 1875 to 1965. He is well-known for his writing on Christian mysticism.
In 1952, he received a Nobel Peace Prize for a work of philosophy, becoming the eighth Frenchman to be awarded that prize.
Princess Diana was known to enjoy poetry, and was once given one in a silver frame by Dodi Al Fayed. Harry has also recited poems on public occasions, as has his wife Meghan.
The statue shows Diana wearing a sleek open-necked blouse, a wide belt and a pencil skirt.
Her hands are gently placed on the shoulders of two of the children – a boy and a girl, with the girl holding the princess’s hand.
Sculpted by renowned artist Ian Rank-Broadley, the monument is 1.25x life size and was cast by Castle Fine Arts Foundry in the traditional ‘lost-wax’ process, with a patina of a bluish green over black.
The cast is hollow and is supported by a stainless-steel armature.
Beneath the statue is a plinth engraved with the princess’ name and the date of the unveiling.
In front of the statue is a paving stone engraved with an extract inspired by The Measure of A Man poem.
It reads: ‘These are the units to measure the worth,
‘Of this woman as a woman regardless of birth.
‘Not what was her station?
‘But had she a heart?
‘How did she play her God-given part?’
The delayed statue, which was due to be unveiled before the end of 2017, is situated in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, which was one of Diana’s favourite places.
The brothers both smiled as the statue was revealed, with Harry collecting the cover from his older brother
Sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex after the unveiling of a statue