Diana bronze unveiled at Harrods

Joann Johnston
January 14, 2018

The statue will be returned to the Knightsbridge store's former owner and father of Dodi, Mohamed Al Fayed, who commissioned the memorial after the couple were killed in a Paris auto crash in 1997.

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

The owners of the luxury department store Harrods have announced that they will be removing the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales and her lover, Dodi Fayed.

British media, including The Times and the BBC, reported on Saturday (Sunday NZ time) that the bronze statue in the London store will be returned to Dodi's father, Mohammed Al Fayed, the Egyptian tycoon who previously owned Harrods. 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 Harrods statue shows Diana in a low-cut dress with a slit up to the thigh and Dodi in an open shirt.

It is entitled Innocent Victims, a reference to Mr Al Fayed's belief - unsupported by any evidence, according to the inquest - that the couple were murdered on the orders of the Duke of Edinburgh.

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

While the controversial statue remained in place, there had been little chance that Harrods would regain the favour of the British royals.

Mr Al-Fayed is now in discussions with the store about when and how the handover will happen.

The store said that following the announcement previous year 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.

Mr Al Fayed said he wanted to keep the pair's "spirit alive" through the statue.

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".

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