The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have hosted the delayed reception to mark the unveiling of the Princess Diana statue.

Princes William and Harry at Diana statue unveiling

Princes William and Harry at Diana statue unveiling

Close family and friends of the late royal - who died in a car accident in Paris on August 31, 1997, aged 36 - gathered at Kensington Palace on Tuesday (19.10.21), as thanks were given to the donors of the bronze tribute erected in the Sunken Garden of the royal residence.

As well as Prince William and his wife Duchess Catherine, The Princess of Wales' brother Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, and her sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Jane Fellowes, were in attendance.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex - who live in Santa Barbara, California - did not fly back to London for the bash.

However, Hello! reports that Prince Harry contacted those who contributed to the statue personally.

It had also been reported that Diana's close friend, Sir Elton John, had to turn down an offer to attend as he is recovering from hip replacement surgery.

The celebration was originally planned to take place in July after the Diana statue was unveiled to mark the 20th anniversary of Diana's tragic passing and what would have been her 60th birthday.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the statue unveiling was massively scaled back.

However, Prince Harry, 37, reunited with his brother William, 39, for the special moment, while Meghan, 40, stayed at home in the US, as she had not long given birth to their daughter Lilibet.

Diana's sons - whom she had with ex-husband Prince Charles - commissioned sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley to create the touching tribute to their mother.

The brothers hope the statue is seen as a lasting symbol of the "life and legacy" of their parent.

They said in a joint statement at the time: "Today, on what would have been our Mother's 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character - qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better.

"Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy.

"Thank you to Ian Rank-Broadley, Pip Morrison and their teams for their outstanding work, to the friends and donors who helped make this happen, and to all those around the world who keep our mother's memory alive."