Prince William will make one of the most significant trips of his official life this week when he visits France.
William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, will travel to Paris for a two-day tour of the city, 20 years since Princess Diana’s death. Over the years the prince has travelled to France for various rugby and soccer matches but this will be his first visit to the country in an official capacity.
The royal couple will attend a reception for young French leaders from a range of industries as well as a formal, black tie dinner at the British Embassy.
They will also make a cameo at the Wales v France Six Nations rugby test.
William was 15 when Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.
Both princes William and Harry plan to commemorate her passing this year with a statue of the late Princess of Wales to be placed in the public gardens at her old home, Kensington Palace.
They have established a committee to commission and raise funds for the fixture.
“It has been 20 years since our mother’s death and the time is right to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world with a permanent statue,” they said in a joint statement earlier this year. “Our mother touched so many lives. We hope the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on her life and her legacy.”
Princess Diana was a popular guest in Paris and championed local designers for her tours.
“It was huge for her to be going there,” Anna Harvey, her stylist at the time, said of the princess’ first state visit in 1988.
“She wore bright red Chanel to get off the plane, which they were thrilled about. At an evening event at the Grand Palais it seemed too obvious to wear Dior. In the end, she wore Lacroix. You tried to work things to be diplomatic.”
On a later trip in 1994, intense detail was employed by her dressmaker Catherine Walker (who was French) in the creation of a black halter-neck sequinned gown worn to the palace of Versailles.