Everything We Know About Diana Spencer's 60th Birthday Memorial

All eyes were on Diana Spencer when she emerged as the softly spoken yet dynamic Princess of Wales. While her marriage to Prince Charles was turbulent, Diana blossomed into an outspoken, dedicated princess of the people. Her tragic death in 1997 marked the end to a life that was in service to her country, but the heart wrenching means of her passing has stayed with the British people — and the world — ever since. July 1, 2021, will mark what would've been her 60th birthday. Her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, are keen on celebrating their mother on what would've been a joyous occasion had she not died.

But of course, life got in the way, and the relationship between Harry and William reportedly started to deteriorate after Harry met Meghan Markle — things between the couple moved quickly, much to William's suspicion (per Elle). Since, Harry has been extremely outspoken about the difficulties the royal family posed, sounding quite a lot like his mom in the process.

With so much drama and tension, what will Diana's 60th birthday memorial look like? In what ways will her life be commemorated and will the two sons finally come together? Here's everything we know about Diana Spencer's 60th birthday memorial.

Diana Spencer's memorial celebration will feature a statue unveiling

Prince William and Prince Harry began thinking about their mother's 60th birthday commemoration back in 2017. As noted by Honey, the brothers decided that a memorial statue would be the best way to honor Diana Spencer, and on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of her death, the pair announced that a custom statue of her was in the works. "The statue that Prince William and Prince Harry have commissioned to commemorate their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, will be installed [in 2021] on what would have been her 60th Birthday," a released statement read at the time, with the brothers adding that they hoped it would "reflect on their mother's life and her legacy." 

William and Harry sought after the one artist they knew could bring Diana's aura to life: Ian Rank-Broadley. Rank-Broadley is the artist behind the official portrait of Queen Elizabeth that is included on all British coin currency, so it makes sense that he was the princes' choice. Honey detailed that both William and Harry worked side-by-side with Rank-Broadley throughout the sculpting process.

Diana Spencer's brother shared his thoughts on what will be an 'emotional' day

We don't hear from Diana Spencer's younger brother, Charles Spencer, very often. When we do, however, he always has something important to say. Charles (don't get him confused with Prince Charles) became a prominent defender of his sister, and spoke about her tragic death during her eulogy. His words have remained part of the legacy of Diana's death, and he shared with "Good Morning Britain" that her 60th birthday will be an "emotional day." "It's so funny to be of an age now where your slightly older sister's 60," he mused, via People. "It will be an emotional day, but it will be a tribute to a much missed and much loved sister, mother." 

Charles also shared that on special occasions — including her birthday and Mother's Day — he goes to Diana's grave site and leaves flowers. "I do go a lot, and it's an oasis of calm, and it's a lovely place to go," he continued, saying that sometimes he goes with his family, but he's also been known to visit his sister alone.

Will the royal feud between Prince Harry and Prince William impact Diana Spencer's memorial?

Ahhh the feud, the story that has dominated the headlines for far longer than any of us really expected. Prince William and Prince Harry have been at it for a while now, and things got even more complicated when Harry started speaking out against more family members. He revealed to Oprah Winfrey that his father, Prince Charles, stopped taking his calls. He also shared that some family members had concerns over his son's skin tone, and he even asserted that his father and brother are trapped in a system that they can't get out of. So if you think that all of this is going to impact Diana Spencer's 60th birthday memorial event, we agree you're right on the money. 

According to Page Six, Harry will "absolutely" be at the event, but palace insiders have started to raise questions about how well it's actually going to go, given the tension. "Things between Harry and William have been terrible since Megxit, then Harry and Meghan [Markle] gave that nuclear Oprah [Winfrey] interview, and now Harry has spoken out again," an insider revealed. "It's just one thing after the other." So how will the event go? Time will certainly tell.

This is what Prince Harry had to say about his mother's birthday and legacy

When an event such as Diana Spencer's 60th birthday memorial comes up, those who were touched by her life start to reminisce. Prince Harry has shared a lot of truths about his life in recent months, and he didn't hold back when he commented on his mother's upcoming memorial. As noted by People, the prince said that he wants the event to be an opportunity to "remember who she was and what she stood for." 

Harry's comments came in the wake of admissions that the BBC's Martin Bashir lied to the princess in order for her to sit down with him for a bombshell interview in 1995. A probe into the lies used by Bashir to solidify the interview exposed the truth, and with Diana's memorial event just days away, Harry used both as an opportunity to speak to his mother's dedication — and to the ways in which she was abused by the media. "Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed," he declared. "By protecting her legacy, we protect everyone, and uphold the dignity with which she lived her life."

The memorial will take place in the wake of this bombshell admission about Diana Spencer

As aforementioned, Diana Spencer's 60th birthday memorial is taking place in the wake of a major bombshell about the 1995 interview that arguably changed the course of her life. Diana tragically passed just two years after the interview aired, and an inquiry into the interview proved that Martin Bashir used fake documents in order to score the sit down with the princess. Charles Spencer, who has had a firm hand in Diana's 60th birthday memorial, shared that Diana would be gratified that "the truth is out" if she was still alive. "I hope she'd be pleased the truth is out to the context. She was taken into a very dark place, her paranoia was fed," he explained, via People

Prince William also spoke out about the probe, saying that the truth behind the interview and its intentions brought "indescribable sadness" to him. He recalled his mother's "fear, paranoia, and isolation" from that time in her life, adding even more sadness to the revelations. This is the backdrop behind how Diana's 60th birthday memorial will take place — here's to hoping that the day can be full of joyous remembrance, rather than painful memories.

The memorial event will pay tribute to this favorite location of Diana Spencer's

Diana Spencer's 60th birthday memorial event will center around the dedication of a statue commissioned of her, and as noted by Honey, the statue will find a home in the sunken gardens at Kensington Palace. This isn't just a beautiful setting, but also is a location that was very close to the princess's heart. After her high profile divorce from Prince Charles, Diana moved to Kensington Palace — from there on, it was her home. 

The sunken gardens, also known as the White Garden, was a particularly special place for Diana, so much so that the entire landscape was redesigned to honor in 2017 her to mark the anniversary of her death. In a statement released at the time, Kensington Palace's website stated that the garden experienced an overhaul, and featured white flowers so that visitors could "reflect and celebrate the life of Princess Diana." The statement included that the garden's redesign "took inspiration from Princess Diana's dresses along with the famous Mario Testino photographs of the Princess," making its updated look that much more touching. The inclusion of a statue in Diana's honor will make the garden a very sacred place.

It is unknown whether or not this royal will attend the ceremony

If you watched Season 4 of "The Crown," then you probably know that although the show was dramatized, but there was some truth as to the tensions between Diana Spencer and the rest of the royal family. Queen Elizabeth had a fair share of rumors cast on her when it came to her relationship with Diana, and things were not made easier when it was reported that she initially denied Diana a royal funeral. 

As noted by the Irish Times, Elizabeth reportedly wanted Diana's body to be placed at a private location, rather than a royal palace, before burial. Prince Charles allegedly lost his cool, and a "blazing row" ensued between him and Elizabeth's secretary, Robert Fellowes. Charles reportedly told the secretary to "impale himself on his own flagstaff," and Diana was thus granted the royal funeral she deserved. 

All this is to say that it remains unclear, as of publication, if Elizabeth will attend Diana's 60th birthday memorial event. According to Honey, Elizabeth did attend the event that marked the opening of Diana's memorial fountain in 2004, so it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that she would attend the birthday event on July 1, 2021. We'll soon find out.

Diana Spencer's 60th birthday is being honored with this meaningful event

Along with the statue dedication that will mark Diana Spencer's 60th birthday, it was announced that the 2021 Legacy Awards — which feature The Diana Award — will be held at her family's home of Althorp House in honor of her birthday. As noted by Hello!, Diana's younger brother, Charles Spencer, will host the awards ceremony at Althorp, rounding out the poignant celebrations that will honor his late sister. 

The Diana Award organization was created in 1999 with the goal of recognizing young people who "work to improve the lives of others." Receiving such an award is one of the most respected accomplishments that people can get within the line of humanitarian and social work, and both Prince Harry and Prince William presented the award during the ceremony held in 2017. The chief executive of The Diana Award, Tessy Ojo, shared in a statement that the decision to host the ceremony at Althorp is "especially poignant, as we mark what would have been [Diana's] 60th birthday." A beautiful way to honor a beautiful person.

Meghan Markle will not be joining Prince Harry for the memorial event

There was a lot of speculation as to whether or not Prince Harry would attend Diana Spencer's 60th birthday memorial, but Hello! confirmed that he will be in attendance, traveling all the way from California to be there. But as Hello! also reported, Harry will be on his own; his wife, Meghan Markle, is reportedly staying in California with the couple's two children, Archie and Lilibet. Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, the couple's second child, was born on June 4, 2021, and as such, she won't even be a month old when Diana's birthday memorial event takes place. 

As Hello! shared, it makes sense why Meghan is staying behind with her newborn. Of course, the baby's name is a nod to Harry's late mother, which in and of itself is a commemoration and remembrance of the princess. In a statement released at the time of her birth, Harry and Meghan revealed, "Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet. Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honor her beloved late grandmother, The Princess of Wales." While Harry might be attending the event on his own, his family has honored Diana in their own special way.

Will Prince Harry meet up with the royal family before the birthday memorial?

All eyes will be on Prince Harry and Prince William when they reunite at Diana Spencer's 60th birthday commemorative event, just as all eyes were glued to the brothers during Prince Philip's April 2021 funeral. The funeral marked the first time that the two had reunited since Harry's bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. As noted by Woman & Home, Harry did not reunite with his family before the funeral took place, but he did spend about two hours with his brother and father, Prince Charles, afterward. 

Since then, however, Harry has shared even more of his experiences from his time as a royal, and it seems that tensions between him and the family couldn't be higher. A palace source told Page Six that there are a lot of unknowns as to the plans surrounding Diana's birthday event, namely when Harry will face his family. "No one is going to tell Harry not to come, but how does he face his family?" the source wondered. "Harry's still coming, we're told, but how will it all go down? Will he just turn up on the day without having seen them beforehand?" Time will tell.

Diana Spencer's 60th birthday will also be marked by a new documentary

Diana Spencer's 60th birthday is being marked by a number of events — the dedication of her stature, The Legacy Awards, and you can add a couple more things to the list — including a new documentary. According to Express, ITV is featuring a new program, "Diana," that will speak to some of the struggles that the princess endured, namely the ongoing tension she experienced with Camilla Parker Bowles

Diana's close friend, Debbie Frank, spoke about the impending documentary and said that Diana did not desire to be "treated like an idiot" by Camilla, and it's not hard to understand why. Frank spoke to the "big act of boldness" that Diana made, namely when she confronted Camilla about the affair she was having with Prince Charles. "Camilla's really just an unflinching person so I don't think it made any difference at all," Frank explained. "It made a big difference to Diana." 

The documentary isn't the only additional commemorative event taking place to mark Diana's 60th birthday. As noted by Parade, a special blue plaque, awarded by the English Heritage Trust, is set to be dedicated outside the London apartment that Diana lived in before her marriage to Charles.

Will Prince Charles be in attendance at Diana Spencer's birthday memorial event?

The short answer is we don't know, the long answer is complicated. As noted by Parade, it remains unclear if Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles will attend Diana Spencer's 60th birthday commemorative event. While Queen Elizabeth has attended commemorative events in honor of Diana in the past, Honey noted that, "Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall have not attended an event related to Diana in recent years," so it's hard to say exactly what will happen. 

There is, of course, a lot of tense history between Charles, Camilla, and Diana. While Diana tragically is no longer with us, people in Great Britain and across the world still hold Charles and Camilla responsible for Diana's unhappiness (via International Business Times), so it might not be the best look for them to attend. According to Us Weekly, the tension between Charles and Prince Harry is also at a high, with reports that Charles is "boiling with anger and feels tortured by Harry." So it could very well be that the future monarch doesn't attend due to the ongoing feud. We'll just have to sit tight and see what happens.

Diana Spencer's sons are expected to give speeches at the memorial event

So what will the actual day of July 1, 2021, look like? Diana Spencer's statue will be dedicated in the Kensington Palace gardens, and her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, are expected to speak to those in attendance. Charles Spencer, Diana's brother, is also expected to give remarks, as noted by Honey. But the speeches might hold more significance than just the words that are shared. 

According to the New Zealand Herald, William and Harry "insisted" on preparing their own separate remarks, and they will not be speaking to the attendees as a pair. A royal source revealed that, "they will both move heaven and earth to be there. They commissioned the statue together. It is very important for them," but that the event might not be enough to bring their feud to an end. "There is, of course, hope the memory of Diana can repair their relationship but that seems a long way off right now," the source continued, adding that while they will be "physically together" for the event, their schism has resulted in two separate addresses to those in attendance. Hopefully it isn't too awkward.

Will Kate Middleton will attend Diana Spencer's 60th birthday remembrance?

When we learned that Meghan Markle wouldn't be attending Diana Spencer's 60th birthday memorial event, we understood why: She's just given birth, and she lives on the other side of the world. But naturally, we assumed that Kate Middleton and the Cambridge kids would accompany Prince William to the event. After all, they live in England and are present at many formal royal events. But royal expert Camilla Tominey weighed in on the issue, and shared that Kate and the kids might sit the event out. 

We were surprised too, but Tominey had her reasons. She told Express that because the event is designed to commemorate Diana and to reunite William and Prince Harry, Kate might take the cue to stay at home. "All eyes will be on the brothers of course, because everyone's hoping there may be some kind of reconciliation at what is going to be a hugely poignant and significant moment for them, remembering their late mother," she revealed. Furthermore, Tominey added that there were "never any suggestions" that Kate and the kids would attend. So will both brothers be flying solo? Time will tell.