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.
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.”
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.
“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.”
Twenty-year-old Diana became Princess of Wales when she married the Prince of Wales on 29 July 1981 at St Paul’s Cathedral, which offered more seating than Westminster Abbey, which was generally used for royal nuptials. The service was widely described as a “fairytale wedding” and was watched by a global television audience of 750 million people while 600,000 spectators lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the couple en route to the ceremony. At the altar, Diana accidentally reversed the order of Charles’s first two names, saying “Philip Charles” Arthur George instead. She did not say that she would “obey” him; that traditional vow was left out at the couple’s request, which caused some comment at the time. Diana wore a dress valued at £9,000 with a 25-foot train.