London store Harrods to remove Diana statue

London store Harrods to remove Diana statue

Camera IconThe Innocent Victims bronze statue of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed, was installed in Harrods in 2005.

London luxury department store Harrods is removing a statue of the late Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed, in what is being seen as an attempt by its Qatari owners to entice the British royals back through its doors.

It remained there after he sold Harrods to the investment arm of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund in 2010.

Last year, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry announced plans for a new sculpture to commemorate their mother in the public grounds of Kensington Palace.

Called Innocent Victims, it shows the pair with their hands raised towards a seagull.

The news reports quoted Harrods managing director Michael Ward as saying that with a new Diana statue planned for Kensington Palace, it is the right time to return the one at the store to Al Fayed.

Mr Al Fayed's son, Dodi was believed to be in a relationship with Diana when they were both killed in a vehicle crash in Paris in 1997.

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Egyptian Mr Fayed set up a shrine to Diana and Dodi shortly after they died in a Paris auto crash in 1997.

Harrods is now owned by the Qatari royal family.

Mr. Al Fayed erected the bronze monument as a tribute to Diana and Dodi following their deaths.

Harrods lost its royal warrant in 2000, thanks to a "significant decline in the trading relationship over several years".

Mr Al-Fayed is now in discussions with the store about when and how the handover will happen. 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 Al Fayed family said in a statement: "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 added.

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