New Princess Diana memorial garden to be created by William and Harry to mark 20th anniversary
The new garden will be at Kensington Palace and will be open to the public with the princes playing a key role in its creation
A new memorial garden will be created to mark 20 years since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, died
Prince William and Harry plan to mark the 20th anniversary of their mother’s death next year with a landmark memorial in London.
Following criticism of other tributes to Princess Diana, a special garden will be created at her home at Kensington Palace.
The determination of the princes to keep their mother’s memory alive has inspired the poignant new memorial garden in the grounds of her London home.
The move follows years of criticism for a series of failed efforts to build a fitting tribute to Diana after her shock death in a car crash in 1997 at the age of only 36.
The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry – who last week spoke movingly of his efforts to make sure his mother is never forgotten – want a lasting legacy in a place special to them.
Now the Sunday People can reveal they are supporting a garden and exhibition to celebrate the life of Diana at their official London home to mark the 20th anniversary of her death.
The Historic Royal Palaces – the charity charged with running the public sections of Kensington Palace – is assembling a team to begin planning the project.
A source said: “No tribute to Princess Diana would be given the go-ahead without the princes’ approval.
Prince Harry and Prince William are overseeing the project
“They’re very involved and they will have an input.
“Kensington Palace has undergone a lot of work since her tragic death but both Prince William and Prince Harry still have apartments in the private home.
"It’s very poignant that a garden will be designed in the grounds of what is their official London residence.
“In recent years they have found it easier and easier to talk about their mother in public interviews and it’s clear they want to keep her memory alive.”
The garden and exhibition, funded through charitable donations and grants, will be launched in spring next year.
Tonight a Buckingham Palace source confirmed that both the princes are being kept up to date with the plans.
The memorial to Princess Diana in Hyde Park has been criticised and is faltering
A Historic Royal Palaces spokesman said: “Our plans are still at the earliest stages of development, and we’re recruiting for staff to help us explore the possibilities.”
Harry, who was only 12 when Diana died in a Paris car crash alongside her millionaire boyfriend Dodi Fayed, spoke movingly of his mother last week and vowed he would do his utmost to keep her memory alive.
He told ABC television’s Good Morning America programme: “I hope she’s looking down with tears in her eyes, being incredibly proud of what we’ve established, I suppose.
“I’m sure she’s longing for me to have kids so she can be a grandmother again. But I hope, once again, everything that we do privately and officially that it makes her proud.”
Read more: Diana memorial garden would finally be a fitting tribute to a remarkable woman
Harry, who met the prime minister of Nepal yesterday when he arrived in the Himalayan country for an official five-day visit, said losing his mother at such a young age had shaped his life “massively”.
He said: “I hope that a lot of my mother’s talents are shown in a lot of the work that I do.”
Floral tributes laid outside the gates to Buckingham Palace after the death of the Princess of Wales in Paris
Harry, who is in Nepal to say thank-you for its Gurkha soldiers who serve in the British Army, went on: “We will do everything we can to make sure she’s never forgotten and carry on all the special gifts, as such, that she had and that she portrayed while she was alive.”
He also shared his happy memories of visiting Disney World in Florida with his mother. He said he went on the Space Mountain roller coaster 14 times and thought it was “absolutely fantastic, the best thing ever”.
He added: “So, you know, there’s all sorts of places over the world where we were very lucky to have those moments with our mother.”
A string of public memorials and tributes have faltered and faced criticisms for their failure to commemorate the princess.
In 2007 the Concert For Diana at London’s Wembley Stadium raised cash for the a string of charities including the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.
But just six years later the charity, which raised £138million in the immediate aftermath of her death, closed as an operational entity.
Even then it took William, 33, and Harry, 31, to save the fund.
In March 2013 The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry took over the legal ownership of the charity to safeguard the distribution of money.
At the time one of Diana’s friends and a former trustee, Vivienne Perry, blasted the failure to mark the princess’s passing with a permanent monument.
She said: “The view from politicians, the Royal Family and the Spencers was that the quicker Diana was forgotten, the better.”
Meanwhile the Royal Family have faced accusations they have tried to write Princess Diana out of history as a number of memorials fell into disrepair.
Her final resting place at Althorp, Northamptonshire, was the focus of a row in 2014.
Princess Diana’s brother Earl Spencer was slated by her former chef for allowing her memorial stone to become overgrown.
Darren McGrady, who worked for the princess after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996, accused her brother of neglecting the gravestone in the grounds of Althorp Estate.
Read more: Prince Harry hopes Princess Diana would be \'proud\' of him
Mr McGrady, who also spent 11 years working at Buckingham Palace, said: “If I cared for Princess Diana in life as you are doing in death I would have been fired. Please tidy up the vegetation on the island. Prove you wanted Princess Diana there through love and not just to make money.”
Elsewhere the Flame of Liberty sculpture at the Pont de L’Alma in Paris, near where she died, became the unofficial memorial in the weeks after her funeral.
The monument was covered with images and notes of remembrance and many bouquets of flowers left.
But the replica gold torch now bears many scratches – and the wall behind, once covered in tributes, has been daubed with graffiti.
Next year marks the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana\'s death
The nearby Le Clos des Blanc-Manteaux, a 1,200-square-yard flower and vegetable garden designed for use by schoolchildren was considered inappropriate by many.
In London the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, Hyde Park, was opened by the Queen in July 2014. The stream was designed to reflect Princess Diana’s love of children and intended to allow paddling but several people were injured after slipping over.
Alteration projects were also carried out to prevent surrounding grass from becoming waterlogged but last year it was described as “quickly deteriorating into a bedraggled and unsightly mess”.
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