Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Entertaiment | By Mabel Barber

Princess Diana statue being axed so Harrods can woo royals

Princess Diana statue being axed so Harrods can woo royals

The bronze sculpture of the couple, who died in a vehicle crash in Paris two decades ago, has been on display at the west London department store since 2005.

Mohamed Fayed, the ex-owner of London's Harrods department store, had installed the 3ft bronze statue as a tribute to his son on the posh store's lower ground floor.

The statue was designed by Harrods artistic design adviser Bill Mitchell, who had worked for the Fayed family for more than 40 years. Royal biographer Penny Junor said: "It was personal to him and since it's no longer his shop I think its fair the new owners give it back".

The three-metre high bronze statue, entitled "Innocent Victims", shows Diana and Dodi holding hands and releasing a bird.

The royals stopped shopping at the store after Mr Al Fayed, 88, accused the Duke of Edinburgh of masterminding the death of Diana and his son.

It had previously held continuous royal warrants since 1913.

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In 2000, the Queen opted to choose Tesco over Harrods as her new provider of Christmas puddings.

Mr Al Fayed retaliated by ordering all remaining royal warrants to be taken down from the facade of Harrods and burned, describing them as a "curse" on the store.

The store said that following the announcement a year ago that the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry had commissioned a new sculpture to commemorate their mother, to be erected at Kensington Palace, the time was right to return the statue to the Egyptian tycoon.

It was not clear when it would be removed from the basement of Harrods, or whether Fayed would seek to keep the statue on public display.

The store's boss, Michael Ward, said it was now time to return the statue given that princes William and Harry had commissioned their own tribute to their mother at Kensington Palace.

The Al Fayed family said in a statement: "We are grateful to Qatar Holdings for preserving the Dodi and Diana memorial at Harrods until now".

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