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Droves queue for Diana: Hundreds line up for first glimpse of new statue

Hundreds have flocked to Kensington Palace in west London today to get a glimpse of the new statue to Princess Diana.

But members of the public gave it a mixed reaction, with some saying she ‘looks beautiful’ while others thought ‘it doesn’t look like her’. 

The eight-foot sculpture – showing her with three ethnically diverse children – was unveiled yesterday by Princes William and Harry to commemorate her work around the world.

It is the focal point of the Palace’s newly re-landscaped Sunken Garden, which has been filled with the Princess’ favourite forget-me-not flowers.

Today, eager members of the public began queuing outside the gates two-hour before they were allowed in at 10am to catch their first glimpse of the statue.

Hundreds have flocked to Kensington Palace in west London today to get a glimpse of the new statue to Princess Diana today (pictured)

The eight-foot sculpture showing her with three ethnically diverse children was unveiled yesterday by her sons, Princes William and Harry, to commemorate her work around the world

The eight-foot sculpture showing her with three ethnically diverse children was unveiled yesterday by her sons, Princes William and Harry, to commemorate her work around the world

It is the focal point of the Palace's newly re-landscaped Sunken Garden, which has been filled with the Princess' favourite Forget-me-not flowers. Pictured: The gates open today

It is the focal point of the Palace’s newly re-landscaped Sunken Garden, which has been filled with the Princess’ favourite Forget-me-not flowers. Pictured: The gates open today

A woman takes a selfie with her phone with a man in glasses at the far end of the garden in Kensington Palace in west London today

A woman takes a selfie with her phone with a man in glasses at the far end of the garden in Kensington Palace in west London today

Today, eager members of the public began queuing outside the gates two-hours early to catch their first glimpse of the statue

Today, eager members of the public began queuing outside the gates two-hours early to catch their first glimpse of the statue

People queue in front of Kengsinton Palace to see the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, a day after its unveiling by her two sons

People queue in front of Kengsinton Palace to see the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, a day after its unveiling by her two sons

Members of the public take pictures of the new memorial to the Princess of Wales in Kensington, west London, this morning

Members of the public take pictures of the new memorial to the Princess of Wales in Kensington, west London, this morning

The Princess Diana fans lined up through Kensington Palace Gardens as they waited for their turn to see the new monument today

The Princess Diana fans lined up through Kensington Palace Gardens as they waited for their turn to see the new monument today

First in the queue was Royal super-fan John Loughrey, 66, from Streatham, South London, who gave it the thumbs up. He said:’I think she looks very beautiful.

‘I was impressed when I saw the photographs yesterday but I was really looking forward to seeing it with my own eyes this morning and it didn’t disappoint.’

Donna Burton, 50, from Newcastle, arrived in London on Wednesday to celebrate Diana’s birthday with a banner in Kensington Gardens.

She has been a fan since Diana got married to the Prince of Wales because ‘she just did so many kind-hearted things for people’.

She admitted that she felt underwhelmed by pictures of the statue initially, saying: ‘I wasn’t that impressed really. I just thought it didn’t really look like her – but I think it must be hard to make a statue look like someone.’

She added: ‘I think it would have been a bit lonely for her on her own. I would have preferred the kids to be William and Harry.’

Retail assistant Lisa Connor, 33, had come all the way from Kendal in the Lake District, and said: ‘I think it looks lovely, it captures her really well.

‘It’s different from what I expected because I thought it was going to be just Diana on her own but I was pleasantly surprised that she was with children as I think it highlights how caring she was.

Mary Gamble, 59, from Highgate in North London, is a regular visitor to Kensington Palace and arrived an hour early to see the statue.

Royals fans who were the first to arrive, form the front of a queue to see the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, on Friday morning

Royals fans who were the first to arrive, form the front of a queue to see the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, on Friday morning

People film the crowds as they are guided towards the new memorial in the back of the Palace on Friday morning

People film the crowds as they are guided towards the new memorial in the back of the Palace on Friday morning

First in the queue was Royal super-fan John Loughrey, 66, from Streatham, South London, who gave it the thumbs up. He said: 'I think she looks very beautiful'. Pictured: A man takes a picture of it today

First in the queue was Royal super-fan John Loughrey, 66, from Streatham, South London, who gave it the thumbs up. He said: ‘I think she looks very beautiful’. Pictured: A man takes a picture of it today 

Members of the public view the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, a day after its unveiling by Princes William and Harry

Members of the public view the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, a day after its unveiling by Princes William and Harry

The gates are opened to allow people to see the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, on Friday as superfans head down towards the monument

The gates are opened to allow people to see the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, on Friday as superfans head down towards the monument 

The crowds march through a tunnel of plants on their way to see the new monument to the late Princess on Friday morning

The crowds march through a tunnel of plants on their way to see the new monument to the late Princess on Friday morning

Those waiting to get their first glimpse of the memorial to the late Princess queue up outside the Palace on Friday morning

Those waiting to get their first glimpse of the memorial to the late Princess queue up outside the Palace on Friday morning

She said: ‘I like it. It’s not quite what I expected as I thought she would be portrayed in the clothes she famously wore during her work advocating a ban on landmines.

‘I knew she would be with children, though, as I remember reading how the sculptor said he didn’t want her on her on her own.

‘I’m also celebrating my 60th birthday this year and so myself and Diana were the same age growing up so I’ve always been a big fan.

‘The statue shows her as a strong woman, which I like, along with the forget-me-bits which were her favourite flower.’ 

Terri-Ann Pincombe, 56, from Kesgrave, Suffolk, said she liked how ‘informal’ the statue of Diana was, adding: ‘Her vulnerability made her very human.

‘It would have been nice to see Harry and William as the kids in the statue but perhaps that would have made it more about them.’

Meanwhile, Sara Terrence, who lives in London but is originally from New Zealand, said the statue ‘gives people something to come and look at and remember her by’.

She said: ‘I think it’s beautiful and lovely but I was wondering about why the three children were there – perhaps to show her caring side?.’

Royal fan Terry Hutt, 86, waits to see the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, a day after its unveiling in the Sunken Garden

Royal fan Terry Hutt, 86, waits to see the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, a day after its unveiling in the Sunken Garden

Members of the public arrived two hours before the gates opened to the gardens at 10am so they could have a look at the statue as soon as possible

Members of the public arrived two hours before the gates opened to the gardens at 10am so they could have a look at the statue as soon as possible 

Some wear face coverings as they queue up to get into the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace on a sunny Friday morning

Some wear face coverings as they queue up to get into the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace on a sunny Friday morning

People queue up to see the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, a day after its unveiling by the Duke of Sussex and Duke of Cambridge

People queue up to see the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, a day after its unveiling by the Duke of Sussex and Duke of Cambridge

The statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, is pictured ahead of the first members of the public being allowed in to view it in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, west London

The statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, is pictured ahead of the first members of the public being allowed in to view it in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, west London

Store manager Neil Walker, 50, who had driven 300-miles from his home in Redcar, Teeside, to see the statue said: ‘I didn’t think it actually looks much like her.

‘If there hasn’t been to all the fanfare and the fact that it’s in Kensington Palace, her former home, I probably wouldn’t have recognised it was Diana.

‘Put the statue any where else in Kensington Park and I’d be struggling to know who it was. I’d have also liked it to show Diana with William and Harry as children.’

Neil’s wife Sharon, a 56-year-old mental health hospital supervisor, added: ‘I think the colour of the stone is a bit too dark for me. I’d have preferred it to be lighter.

‘We drove down on Wednesday especially for the statue and tried to see it then but it was all boxed up. This is the first we could see it for ourselves.

‘I’m relieved that it has finally been unveiled, especially as her boys had commissioned it and now here it is at last.’

James Mo, 65, from London, said: ‘I saw Diana a few times around Kensington and remember she was a very beautiful, tall lady.

‘I don’t think the statue looks very much like her at all. I like what it represents though, she deserves to be remembered in such a lovely setting.’

The Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex reunited for the unveiling of sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley’s artwork on Thursday, saying they hoped it would be ‘a symbol of (Diana’s) life and her legacy’.

The figure of the princess, who would have celebrated her 60th birthday on Thursday, is surrounded by three children and depicts Diana, with short cropped hair, in the later years of her life.

The palace’s Sunken Garden – one of the places Diana loved most at the palace – has been redesigned during the past two years and features more than 4,000 individual flowers, including forget-me-nots which were adored by the princess.

Graham Dillamore, deputy head of gardens and estates at Historic Royal Palaces, said: ‘While she was in residence at Kensington Palace, Diana, Princess of Wales regularly admired the changing floral displays in the Sunken Garden and would always stop to talk with me and the other gardeners who cared for it.

‘Over three decades later, I’m honoured to have been part of the team preparing the garden for the installation of this statue.’

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