Published On: Wed, Aug 30th, 2017

William and Harry read Princess Diana tributes as Kate joins princes at memorial garden

The princes spoke to well wishes as crowds gathered to pay their respect as millions did nearly 20 years ago.

Prince William and Harry stayed shut off from the public in the Queen’s summer residence of Balmoral in the days after Princess Diana died.

But 20 years later the brothers faced crowds and even personally delivered the public’s floral tributes to the gates of Kensington Palace.

In a sombre few minutes outside their home, Prince William and Harry were seen crouching down to read messages from those who Princess Diana inspired.

Banners, photographs and flowers have massed at Princess Diana’s former London home in an emotional vigil stirring memories of the week that shook Britain.

One read: “As the sun shines of Princess Diana and her family may it also shine forever in all our hearts as we remember our special Princess.

“Her work continues through her loving sons Prince William and Prince Harry.”

Earlier, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, joined William and Harry on a tour of the newly planted White Garden in the place they too call home.

The tranquil garden has been planted in the Princess’s memory, inspired by her life and fashion tastes, 20 years after she was killed in a car crash in Paris. 

The Princess of Wales brought the world to a halt when she died on August 31 1997. And admirers have already begun leaving floral tributes and photographs of the late royal at the gates of Kensington Palace, just as they did 20 years ago.

The Duke and Prince have used this 20th anniversary year to promote the importance of seeking help for mental health problems – a plight Princess Diana began decades ago.

Kate Middleton and Prince WilliamREUTERS

Prince William and Kate attend Princess Diana’s memorial garden

They have spoken candidly of their mother in a series of interviews in the run-up to this milestone year, describing their own memories of her life, charity work, and funeral. 

Prince Harry has said: “There’s not a day that William and I don’t wish that she was still around.

“She was our mum. She still is our mum. And of course, as a son I would say this, she was the best mum in the world. She smothered us with love, that’s for sure.”

Earlier this year Prince Harry revealed he sought therapy in a bid to deal with the death of his mother.

He told the Telegraph: “…On grief, I find talking about my mother and keeping her memory alive very important.

“I find it therapeutic to talk about her, and to talk about how I feel.”

The garden at Kensington Palace is today filled with white flowers and foliage and was inspired by memories of Diana’s life, style and image, including her white “Elvis” Catherine Walker dress.

Head gardener Sean Harkin showed the trio some of Diana’s favourite flowers, including classic white roses, scented narcissi and a carpet of forget-me-nots around the existing Sunken Garden, of which the Princess was particularly fond.

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, visits Princess Diana's memorial gardenGETTY

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, visits Princess Diana’s memorial garden

Kate Middleton, Prince William and HarryGETTY

William, Kate and Harry visit the Princess Diana memorial garden

The stunning foliage surrounds a reflective pool with ornamental grasses weaving through Cosmos daisies.

Gardeners recalled how Diana would stop when passing for a chat about their work creating ever-changing floral displays.

Prince William and Harry are carrying out engagements today as they are expected to grieve privately with their close family tomorrow.

It is Prince Harry’s first appearance following his return from holiday in Africa with girlfriend Meghan Markle.

Prince William and Harry look at Princess Diana tributesWENN

Prince William and Harry look at Princess Diana tributes as they did 20 years ago

Prince Harry accepts floral tributes for Princess DianaWENN

Prince Harry accepts floral tributes for Princess Diana

The Princes will also meet with representatives of the six charities their mother remained patron of at her death on August 31, 1997, and two others particularly close to her heart.

Among the charity representatives due to meet the Royal Family is Dr Ken Rutherford, a landmine survivor who accompanied Diana on her final trip to Bosnia and now works in the department for political science at James Madison University, US.

He said: “For me, it is an honour to be part of recognising someone who was so charismatic she actually changed the world.

“And now her sons, in such an uncomplicated way, are connecting the dots of her life and continuing her legacy.

“When I met Prince Harry in April, his first question was: did my mother make a difference? For landmine survivors, she changed everything.”

Princess Diana British Fashion Awards at the Royal Albert HallGETTY

Princess Diana at the British Fashion Awards at the Royal Albert Hall

The eight charities are The Leprosy Mission, English National Ballet, National Aids Trust, homeless charity Centrepoint, Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Royal Marsden Hospital, Child Bereavement UK and Landmine Survivors Network.

Prince William, Harry and Kate will spend time with modern-day representatives of each charity, boosting their profile in front of the media, and catch up with the Princess’ old colleagues and friends who worked alongside her in the mid-1990s.

The afternoon event was designed to highlight the “significant achievements” of the Princess in changing lives.

Ann Chalmers, chief executive of Child Bereavement UK, said: “It’s a real honour for Child Bereavement UK to be invited to this special event.

Kate joins Prince William and Harry to pay tribute to their late mother Princess DianaGETTY

Kate joins Prince William and Harry to pay tribute to their late mother Princess Diana

“Diana, Princess of Wales attended the launch of our charity, helping raise the profile of our work from the outset, and it has been wonderful to have The Duke of Cambridge continue that connection as our Royal Patron.

“I never had the privilege of meeting the Princess of Wales personally, but was always struck by the depth of her compassion and her incredible ability to relate to people at all levels, whilst shining a light on issues many people instinctively shied away from.”

Speaking ahead of the garden visit, a Kensington Palace spokeswoman said: “The engagement will allow the Princes to pay tribute to the life and work of their mother the day before the 20th anniversary of her death.

“Together, they will reflect on the significant achievements of the Princess, and the legacy of her work which continues to resonate with so many today.”

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