Princess Diana memorial: Critics slam ‘archaic, awkward, lifeless’ statue

Prince William and Prince Harry reunited to unveil a new statue to their beloved mum Diana on what would have been her 60th birthday.

But the long-awaited memorial to the People’s Princess has left critics and commentators more than a little disappointed.

William and Harry originally commissioned the statue from sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley back in 2017. It shows Diana posing with three unnamed children in a nod to her humanitarian work, and according to a statement from Kensington Palace, is meant to evoke “warmth, elegance, and energy”.

But the reviews were quick to roll in – and for Telegraph art critic Alastair Sookie, the statue represented none of those things.

“Sure, she’s portrayed as a latter-day saint, offering protection to three children (though spare a thought for the poor kid relegated to the back), but she isn’t a sweet Madonna: there’s something distinctly masculine about that stance, squaring up to the viewer,” he wrote.

Sookie even criticised the statue for looking too “masculine”.

“Here is a virago, an empowered humanitarian warrior wearing a belt so big it wouldn’t look amiss on He-Man, capable of making the House of Windsor cower.

“Its visual language (ie, classical bronze statuary) feels hopelessly archaic, given that it’s meant to be a symbol of modern womanhood. Frankly, I’m not even sure the face is a convincing likeness.”

Writing for the Guardian, Jonathan Jones echoed his criticism, calling the statue “archaic” and even “nauseating”.

“A larger than life Diana, who stands in an awkward, stiff, lifeless pose and has a face that’s more manly than I remember … it’s a mawkish image that shamelessly plays up to the most mawkish aspects of Diana worship.

“She deserves to be remembered. But does she need to be turned into a colossal divine protectress of all children? If that is how Harry and William think of her that’s up to them. But this looks like the art of a new religion.”

Writing for the Independent, Mark Hudson called the statue “moving” and “slightly eerie”, but was a little more forgiving.

“Is there a faint touch of kitsch to the whole enterprise? Of course there is. But this is, to my mind, by far the best result we could have hoped for under the circumstances.”

Meanwhile, those who had eagerly awaited the unveiling took to social media to share their thoughts on the monument – and many of them were confused as to why Diana had been portrayed with three children around her.

“Why does the Diana statue have three random kids on it and not her own two sons?” asked one confused Twitter user.

“I would’ve really liked if Diana’s statue included her own kids,” admitted another.

“Not much of a likeness. The sculptor needs to go to Specsavers,” another commented.

Others were disappointed that the statue didn’t include a nod to Diana’s iconic wardrobe.

“Sorry, but the Diana statue should be wearing the revenge dress,” wrote one Twitter user, sharing a photo of the off-the shoulder black dress Diana wore in 1994 after Prince Charles’ admission of adultery.

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