Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Will Not Return to the U.K. for Event Honoring Princess Diana – PEOPLE


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The reception, to be attended by Prince William and Elton John, is set to thank donors who funded the new statue of Princess Diana

Prince William will attend the private reception for donors who funded the statue of Diana that was unveiled in July on what would have been the late Princess of Wales' 60th birthday.

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Prince Harry and Meghan, who relocated their family to California last year, will not return to the U.K. for the Kensington Palace event this month, though Harry is privately reaching out to donors.

Prince Harry, 37, returned to London for the statue's debut, reuniting with his older brother, 39, for the first time since their grandfather Prince Philip's funeral in April. Meghan, who gave birth to their daughter Lilibet Diana in June, did not make the trip to the U.K. for either occasion.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex Visit One World Observatory

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

| Credit: Taylor Hill/WireImage

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, July's statue unveiling was a scaled-down affair attended only by close family members of Princess Diana (including her brother, Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, and her sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Jane Fellowes, Baroness Fellowes), statue committee members, the statue's sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley and Pip Morrison, the designer of the Sunken Garden.

Princess Diana Statue

Prince William and Prince Harry

| Credit: Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty

William and Harry said in a joint statement, "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."

The statement continued, "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."

Thanking the team who helped bring the statue and the garden to life, they also expressed their appreciation for "all those around the world who keep our mother's memory alive."

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex speak onstage during Global Citizen Live, New York on September 25, 2021 in New York City.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

| Credit: John Lamparski/Getty

Meghan, 40, and Harry traveled to New York City last month for several public appearances and meetings, which were their first joint outings since their daughter's birth. They kicked off their visit with an early morning stop at One World Observatory at the World Trade Center with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul, followed by touring the 9/11 Museum and memorial and meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

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