A handful of disparate events related to the late Diana, Princess of Wales has ensured she is in the spotlight once again. Alongside the drama at the BBC over the now infamous interview she gave to Martin Bashir for Panorama, her wedding dress is on display for the first time in 25 years, and the birth of what would have been her fifth grandchild has been announced.
In addition, on what would have been Diana’s 60th birthday on 1 July, a sculpture is to be unveiled. Back in 2017, when the concept of a memorial statue to their mother was first mooted, Princes William and Harry issued a joint statement hoping it would ‘help all of those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on their mother’s life and legacy’. Its creator, Ian Rank-Broadley, is the finest figurative sculptor and medallic artist in Britain today; his profile of the Queen on the current UK coinage is perhaps his most recognisable work.
On Sunday 6 June, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s press secretary announced the birth of their baby daughter. ‘It is with great joy that Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, welcome their daughter, Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, to the world. Lili was born on Friday June 4th at 11.40am in the trusted care of the doctors and staff at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California. She weighed 7lbs 11oz. Both mother and child are healthy and well and settling in at home. Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty the Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet. Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honour her beloved late grandmother, the Princess of Wales.’
The Queen is known to close friends and blood relatives by the name she gave herself as a child when she struggled to pronounce Elizabeth. Many people are surprised that the monarch’s rather intimate nickname is being used as a Christian name, though her 11th great-grandchild will be known as Lili within the family. As anticipated, the baby, like her cousin Princess Charlotte, has Diana as her second name.
Under the rules set down by King George V in 1917, Lili and her big brother Archie will be styled HRH, with the title princess and prince, when their grandfather Prince Charles ascends the throne. If of course that is what their parents feel is right for them in the modern world.
The plans for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations next year are well under way and in the United Kingdom there will be four days of festivities, starting on Thursday 2 June with the traditional Trooping the Colour ceremony and ending on Sunday 5 June with a Platinum Jubilee Pageant. Unlike Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee this one will be on land rather than the River Thames. On Saturday 4 June, the Queen and members of her family will attend the Derby race meeting on Epsom Downs, and a concert will be staged at Buckingham Palace in the evening.
Sadly, the magnificent Gold State Coach, built in 1762 and used for the Silver and Golden Jubilees, has been ‘retired’ as it is fragile and unstable. The Queen will therefore travel to the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday 3 June in the comfort of one of her State Bentleys or perhaps the 1902 State Landau, weather permitting.