Harrods has announced that its controversial bronze statue of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed is being retired from the shop floor.
The statue was commissioned by the iconic London department store's then-owner, Mohammed Al Fayed, after his son Dodi and partner Diana were tragically killed in a car crash on 31st August, 1997.
It was unveiled eight years later to a less than ecstatic reception. Some commentators felt that the imposing bronze statue, which shows the couple dancing underneath an albatross, and features the inscription "innocent victims," was tacky and made in poor taste.
Mohammed Al Fayed sold Harrods in 2010 to the Qatari Royal Family. The store's current manager Michael Ward has now announced that the statue will be returned to Al Fayed's family.
"We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years," Ward said in statement.
"With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales 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.”
Prince William and Prince Harry announced last year that they had commissioned a statue in memorial of their late mother. It is being created by renowned sculptor Ian Rank-Broadle and will be installed in the public gardens at Kensington Palace, her former home.
A spokesperson for the Al Fayed told The Times: "We are grateful to Qatar Holdings for preserving the Dodi and Diana memorial at Harrods until now. It has enabled millions of people to pay their respects and remember these two remarkable people. It is now time to bring them home."
Mohamed Al Fayed has frequently claimed that Diana, Princess of Wales and his son Dodi were killed in a conspiracy connected to the Royal family. In 2010 he revealed that he had ordered staff to destroy Harrods' long-running Royal warrants.
In a letter written to The Daily Telegraph, Al Fayed added: "With regard to the Royal family visiting Harrods again, I doubt they would dare to show their faces."
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