London’s Harrods to remove ‘tacky’ Diana and Dodi statue

Mohamed Al Fayed commissioned the bronze statue, which shows his son and Diana holding hands and releasing a bird, after they were killed in a Paris car crash in 1997

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 January, 2018, 11:47am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 January, 2018, 2:13pm

A statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed that has been widely described as “tacky” will be removed from Harrods.

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

It was commissioned by Mohamed Al Fayed, who owned Harrods at the time but sold it to the Qatar Investment Authority in 2010.

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.

“We feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace,” Ward said.

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.

A Fayed family spokesman told The Times they were “grateful” to the Qatari fund for preserving the memorial of the couple, adding: “It is now time to bring them home”.

When the statue was unveiled, Fayed said it was a more “fitting tribute” to Diana than the official memorial fountain in Hyde Park that he described as a “sewer”.

The Harrods statue shows Diana in a low-cut dress with a slit up to the thigh and Dodi in an open shirt. The couple are shown dancing in Mediterranean waves beneath the wings of an albatross, which supposedly symbolised freedom and eternity.

“I have named the sculpture Innocent Victims, because for eight years I have fought to prove that my son and Princess Diana were murdered,” Fayed said in 2005.

“This is a statue to stay here forever. Until now nothing has been done to preserve her memory and legacy. She was an amazing woman who brought joy to the whole world.”

The statue was designed by Harrods artistic design adviser Bill Mitchell, who had worked for the Fayed family for more than 40 years.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse