Prince William and Prince Harry reunite at Diana statue unveiling
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Meghan Markle and Harry sparked controversy with their comments released in response to Buckingham Palace’s official statement about them stepping away from duties earlier this year. The statement, which came nearly a year after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped down, marked the point of the 12-month review and showed the couple had no intention of returning to royal life. The statement from the Palace read: “Following conversations with the Duke, the Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of the Royal Family it is not possible to continue with responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.”
Harry and Meghan bit back with a statement of their own, insisting: “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
At the time, their words were somewhat divisive, with some arguing that they could continue supporting their charities in a personal capacity, while others pointed out that they now have to support themselves and will be doing more commercial work, rather than dedicating their whole lives to charitable endeavours.
However, what it certainly showed is that the Sussexes believe their role is still to do good, but to do so outside the royal framework.
This sentiment was reflected in a poem associated with Diana this week.
Prince William and Harry unveiled the statue of Princess Diana in the Sunken Gardens of Kensington Palace on what would have been Diana’s 60th birthday, July 1.
Beneath the statue of Diana with three children is a paving stone engraved with an extract from the poem ‘The Measure of A Man’, with the gender switched.
It reads: “These are units to measure the worth, of this woman as a woman regardless of birth.
“Not what was her station? But had she a heart? How did she play her God-given part?”
The poem was previously featured in the programme for the 2007 memorial service for Princess Diana, 10 years after she died at age 36 following a car crash in Paris.
Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper and features Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers.
Mr Myers argued that the poem is about finding what you can give regardless of your actual role and standing.
He compared this to Harry’s “service is universal” comment, arguing that mother and son see service in a similar way and that both felt like, even though they do not fit in with the royal family, it is their duty to use their platform for good.
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The royal editor said: “And I think that does encompass what the statue is about, what was her place in the world, regardless of where she came from.
“I think that does embody Diana, that she necessarily wasn’t part of the Royal Family machine, she didn’t really feel like she ever fitted in it, but she used the role for the greater good.
“And that is what her sons see, certainly Harry ‒ well, both of them ‒ but I think that comes back to Harry’s viewpoint of ‘service is universal’, you don’t have to have a standpoint, ie. being a member of the Royal Family, in order to make your mark in the world.
“I suppose that’s a bit debatable, but that’s how he feels, isn’t it?”
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The poem is engraved on a slab at the bottom of the 1 ¼ times lifesize statue of Diana and three children, who represent those she helped all over the world.
The statue itself has proved divisive, with Jonathan Jones branding it a “spiritless hunk of nonsense” in The Guardian.
Mr Myers said this was quite “brutal” and he “wouldn’t go that far”, but did question whether the statue itself really embodies the spirit of Diana.
Ms Gripper pointed out that The Guardian is generally a republican newspaper, so may have put an anti-royal spin on this.
Mr Myers added that, at the end of the day, this was William and Harry’s project and they are “obviously happy with it” or they would not have unveiled it to the world.
He said, if the princes are happy, that’s “all that matters” and it “doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.”
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