Art History Lab

Controversy and Tribute: The Diana Memorial Statue’s Legacy

The Diana Memorial Statue, located in Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden, is a bronze statue of the late Princess Diana surrounded by three children. The statue was commissioned by her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, to mark the 20th anniversary of her death.

The design was created by Ian Rank-Broadley, and the unveiling ceremony in July 2021 was a private event due to Covid restrictions. His notable works include British coinage and low-relief sculpture, among others.

Commissioning of Statue

The sons of Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry, wanted to commission a statue of their mother to honor her memory and legacy. They announced the statue’s commission in 2017, marking the 20th anniversary of her death.

The statue was intended to commemorate her life and achievements. The bronze statue was commissioned by the duo and created by Ian Rank-Broadley.

Design of the Statue

Ian Rank-Broadley was chosen for the statue’s design, which had to convey the representation of Diana surrounded by children. The statue is situated in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, near where Diana once lived.

There are three children around her in various poses, representing the many causes Diana championed throughout her life. The Sunken Garden features over 4,000 flowers, including forget-me-nots in honor of Diana.

Ian Rank-Broadley’s work is known for its accuracy and detail, exemplifying in the statue of Diana.

Unveiling Ceremony of Statue

According to the royal family, the unveiling ceremony was a private event, with only a small number of attendees due to Covid restrictions. Prince William and Prince Harry were present at the ceremony.

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was also in attendance. The Sunken Garden was open to visitors on the day of the unveiling.

Fans of the Princess from all around the world came to honor her life and work, leaving flowers and cards at the base of the statue.

Background of Ian Rank-Broadley

Ian Rank-Broadley is a British sculptor and artist who has created numerous notable works. He was born in 1952 and educated at Epsom School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art in London.

He trained at the British School in Rome, where he honed his skills in classical methods. His work is highly detailed and often focuses on the human form, exemplified in the Diana Memorial Statue.

Notable Works

Rank-Broadley’s work is highly regarded in the art world. He designed the reverse side of all British coins from 1997 to 2015, featuring Queen Elizabeth II.

He also created other works, including low-relief sculpture and statuettes. Rank-Broadley collaborated with Ralph Brown RA on a two-part sculpture of Leda and the Swan, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 2012.

Another notable work of his is a portrait of Reg Butler, a fellow sculptor.


The Diana Memorial Statue is a lasting tribute to the late Princess Diana, commissioned by her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. Designed by Ian Rank-Broadley, the statue commemorates Diana’s life and achievements, surrounded by three children representing her causes.

The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace is a fitting location for the statue, with over 4,000 flowers, including forget-me-nots. The unveiling ceremony was a private event, with Prince William, Prince Harry, and Duchess Kate Middleton in attendance.

Ian Rank-Broadley’s work is highly regarded, with notable works including British coinage, low-relief sculpture, and collaborations with other artists.The Diana Memorial Statue has sparked both criticism and praise among viewers. While some have criticized the statue for being aesthetically awful, flat, and soulless, others have praised it for its beauty, contemplative atmosphere, and ability to capture the spirit of Princess Diana.

Regardless of the different opinions, the statue is a lasting tribute to the beloved Princess who touched and changed many lives through her humanitarian work and cultural impact.

Criticisms of the Statue

Some viewers have criticized the statue for its aesthetics, stating that it is flat, characterless, and soulless. When the statue was first unveiled, some critics called it a “mish-mash” of ideas that failed to capture the true essence of Princess Diana.

Others criticized it for being too modern and at odds with the surrounding Sunken Garden. Some even called for the statue’s removal, stating that it was an embarrassment to the memory of Princess Diana.

Positive Reviews of the Statue

Despite criticisms, many viewers have praised the Diana Memorial Statue for its beauty and contemplative atmosphere. They noted that the statue encapsulated the spirit of Princess Diana and that the inclusion of children in the statue was a fitting tribute to the humanitarian work she cared deeply about.

Viewers have also mentioned that the statue’s positioning in the Sunken Garden adds to its beauty and contemplative atmosphere.

Legacy of Princess Diana

Princess Diana was referred to as the “Princess of the People” because she was down-to-earth, loved by children and her followers, and represented the people. Her legacy and impact continue to be felt to this day.

Diana as Princess of the People

Princess Diana was adored by people all over the world because of her down-to-earth nature and her love for humanity. Known for her compassion and empathy, she was an inspiration to many, especially the underprivileged and sick children.

Her genuine care for others made her stand out among the royals, and people often referred to her as the “People’s Princess.” Her selflessness and altruism were felt worldwide, and she became a symbol of hope and love.

Dianas Impact and Achievements

Throughout her life, Princess Diana left a significant impact on the world. Her humanitarian work continues to change and touch many lives.

She was a patron of numerous charities, and her work extended to the eradication of landmines and her advocacy for HIV/AIDS research. One of her most notable legacies is the cultural impact she had on the royal family.

Her significant contributions paved the way for the royal family to be involved in more humanitarian activities, thereby expanding their reach worldwide.


The Diana Memorial Statue, whether praised or criticized, is a lasting tribute to the Princess of the People, who changed and touched many lives worldwide. Though she may no longer be with us, her impact continues to be felt through her humanitarian and cultural work.

Her legacy will remain forever engrained in the hearts of those who continue to be inspired by her compassion and empathy. The Diana Memorial Statue, located at Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden, has sparked criticisms and positive reviews among viewers.

While some have criticized the statue’s aesthetics, others have praised its contemplative atmosphere, capturing the spirit of Princess Diana. Regardless of differing opinions, the statue is a lasting tribute to the humanitarian work and cultural impact of Princess Diana, also known as the People’s Princess, who inspired many with her compassion and empathy.

Though no longer with us, her legacy lives on through her numerous charitable works, left behind for future generations to continue and emulate.

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