Prince William looks at photos left as tributes to his mother Princess Diana near The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace in London yesterday. The garden has been transformed into a white garden dedicated to the memory of Diana, who died on August 31, 1997.
The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry made a personal pilgrimage to view the floral tributes left in memory of their mother as Harry confessed “all of us lost somebody”.
William and Harry stopped to look at the heartfelt messages, pictures and flowers left in remembrance of Diana, Princess of Wales at the gates of her former home Kensington Palace.
The 20th anniversary of Diana’s death will be commemorated today and the royal brothers, with Kate, earlier honoured her memory by visiting a nearby memorial garden in the grounds of the palace created for the Princess.
Charity chiefs from organisations associated with Diana met the royals after their tour and Harry told one group of campaigners about how his mother’s death was a tragedy for them — as they were preparing to work with the royal — as well as his family. He said: “I can imagine for a lot of you it was like ‘right here we go, now we’ve got her, we’ve got the thirst, we’ve got the attention, now let’s do something’ then suddenly she’s snapped away — if I can put it [this way], all of us lost somebody.”
The royal brothers had spent an hour touring the temporary memorial White Garden in the grounds of the palace with Kate before making the short journey to the gates.
Sheltering from the heavy rain under an umbrella, William knelt down to look at some of the bouquets, then later pointed out a picture to his brother that appeared to make him laugh. Harry came over to have a look at the picture which had left his older brother in stitches and William said: “Look at my shades”.
The Prince glanced at the photograph of the Duke and his mother both wearing sunglasses as they sat in the crowds at an unknown event.
The royal siblings have talked candidly about the loss of their mother in a number of documentaries and interviews this year, and about the scenes they experienced when they came to see the tributes left at Kensington Palace a few days after their mother’s death.
William reminisced about that moment and took a few moments to point out to Harry how far back the flowers had stretched from the gate.
Pointing out where the sea of 1997 tributes had stretched to, he said: “Last time, it was all the way down.”
Noting a large display of photographs, he added: “They’ve put a banner up.”
William and Harry’s appearance attracted several hundred well-wishers who lined crash barriers and the brothers each placed a floral tribute at the gates for fans of their mother.
Sisters Gracie, aged eight, and Maisy Oxby, 10, from Basildon in Essex handed over a bouquet of red blooms to Harry to place at the entrance on behalf of another royal fan.
Maisy said: “He took the flowers and asked us who we were and said ‘whereabouts would you like them to go’? I said in the middle under the HRH on a poster.”
Her sister added: “A lady gave us the flowers and she said can you give it to one of the princes.”
The youngsters were joined by their mother Rhian Oxby, 40, and their grandmother Debbie Oxby, 55, who said: “I’m the royalist in the family and wanted the girls to see them.
“We’ve been into the palace and done the tour, we heard on the news they would be here, but didn’t think we would see them.”
Taking a bouquet from Carole Carter and her mother-in-law Eve, the Duke heard how they had also been at Kensington Palace visiting the Diana fashion exhibition before they decided to join yesterday’s commemorations.
The Duke thanked them for their flowers, and walked over to place them carefully at the main gates of the palace.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry arrive yesterday for a visit to the White Garden in Kensington Palace, London, and to meet with representatives from charities supported by Diana, the Princess of Wales.
The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry look at tributes to Diana, Princess of Wales attached to the Golden Gates of Kensington Palace, ahead of the 20th anniversary of their mother’s death.
Prince Harry meets well-wishers and views tributes to Princess Diana at Kensington Palace.
Princess Diana with William and Harry at Highgrove in 1988.