8 things you definitely thought when you saw the Diana statue

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (left) and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex look at a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, on what would have been her 60th birthday on July 1, 2021 in London, - Getty
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (left) and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex look at a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, on what would have been her 60th birthday on July 1, 2021 in London, - Getty

Well, it could have been a lot worse. Remember melted Ronaldo? Or tiny, shiny, naked Mary Wollstonecraft standing on top of her kebab? You can forgive sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley for playing it relatively safe with his long-awaited statue of Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace.

On Thursday afternoon, the date that would have been Diana’s 60th birthday, a few chosen guests gathered in the redesigned Sunken Garden at the Palace. Rank-Broadley was there. Garden designer Pip Morrison was there. Diana’s siblings were there. And her adored sons, Princes William and Harry, were there. The statue, meanwhile, stood dormant under a green cloth.

And then, with little ceremony, off came the cloth, and there before us she was: Diana, Princess of Wales, captured in bronze for eternity. Only she wasn’t alone. And looked a little odd. And… to be honest, it took a moment or two to fully understand the scene. Here’s a few things that may have crossed your mind in the meantime.

At last, a Simon Le Bon statue where it was needed most

Other people you could be forgiven for assuming it was, if you weren’t to know: Corrie’s Ken Barlow, Judy Murray, Barry Manilow, that bloke who runs Pimlico Plumbers, Fiona Bruce, hairdresser to the stars Nicky Clarke, EastEnders’ Shirley Carter, Germany manager Joachim Löw, Theresa May, David Bowie during his 2002 appearance on Jools Holland, Clare Balding, a late-Nineties Kris Jenner, Owen Wilson in any era, Rod Stewart just after he left Faces, and eventually Princess Diana.

Who’s that little girl meant to be, then?

How have I never known that Harry and William have a big sister? You’d think this would be written about a lot, and be on Wikipedia at least. I’ve never seen it on there, and I’m on there a lot.

Wouldn’t she be in The Crown, at least? Maybe she declined. Maybe it’s like how the other daughter refused to be in The Osbornes and thus ceased to exist entirely.

Oh right, wait, it’s just some random girl. So that’s not William on the left, either? I was going to say. Maybe they need a plaque or something to make that clear, otherwise future generations might have a tough time? I don’t know, it’s just an idea. Or is it Anne, but, like, the scale is off? No? I’ll stop.

So is that another child behind the girl?

Or does the girl have three arms? Is that why she was hidden from the public, all the extra limbs? Oh right, sorry, it’s a third child, I’ve seen another angle now. Well, how many are there? Do we need to check under her shoes and inside the other children for yet more hidden children? Are they Russian dolls? Someone needs to keep a 24/7 watch or more children will sprout.

Harry in front of the statue - Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Harry in front of the statue - Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Why does she look so, well, hard?

By and large, Princess Diana was renowned for her kindness, generosity and compassion. She was not, as far as I know (but then, I didn’t know about her daughter), much of a fighter.

And yet look at that face. The determined, hardened stare. She looks like she’s physically restraining the children from going and knocking out each and every passer by in the Sunken Garden. If the intention is to scare every tourist to the other side of Hyde Park, 10/10.

william and harry inspect statue of diana - Getty
william and harry inspect statue of diana - Getty

Why is she wearing a wrestling belt?

Not sure how we’ve made it this far without mentioning the belt, which doesn’t so much follow you around the room as block the exit. Did she have a meet-and-greet with the children at 2pm, and World’s Strongest Man competition at 4pm? Is the person she’s eyeballing Geoff Capes, on the other side of the Atlas stones? Her shoulders do look strong and, as we’ve established, she’s spoiling for a fight.

The belt, which you’ll notice is about the size of her daughter’s the girl’s head, is in fact based on a real one Diana wore in a Christmas card in 1993, as is the low-cut blouse. Christmas may explain it: I’m sure I remember Tim Allen wearing a similar one in The Santa Clause.

You know those collection boxes you used to get outside charity shops, that were shaped like children? Pop the coin in the head?

Not dissimilar, is it?

Couldn’t they have bothered painting it?

I never understand why they don’t paint more statues, like people do Warhammer figurines. But that’s possibly besides the point.

It’ll grow on us... hopefully

Not literally, I can’t imagine how terrifying this would look 50ft tall. But these are just initial impressions. We will get used to Rank-Broadley’s statue, perhaps even come to love it. The colour will change, the features will soften, and above all, Harry and William like it, which is the main thing.

(As for what their sister thinks, well, we have attempted to reach her representatives for comment.)