British luxury retailer Harrods has confirmed plans to remove their statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. Dodi's father, Mohamed Al-Fayed, erected the memorial in 1997 following the death of the People's Princess and his 42-year-old son. The iconic statue, titled 'Innocent Victims,' has been a big draw for shoppers and fans over the years, who flocked to the Knightsbridge department store over the years.
The bronze design shows Diana and Dodi dancing under the wings of a flying albatross, a bird that is said to symbolize the Holy Spirit. Dodi's father commissioned his close friend William Mitchell to create the sculpture to keep the couple's "spirit alive." The memorial was erected in 2005.
Harrods will return the beloved statue to Mr Al-Fayed, who sold his store to the Qatar Investment Authority for a reported US$2.3 billion (£1.5 billion) in 2010. "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," managing director Michael Ward told HELLO! Online. "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."
The move comes after Kensington Palace revealed that they are in the process of creating a new sculpture of Diana. Her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, have asked renowned artist Ian Rank-Broadley to create the memorial. In a joint statement, the brothers said: "We have been touched by the kind words and memories so many people have shared about our mother over these past few months. It is clear the significance of her work is still felt by many in the UK and across the world, even 20 years after her death."
They added: "Ian is an extremely gifted sculptor and we know that he will create a fitting and lasting tribute to our mother. We look forward to unveiling the statue, which will allow all those who visit Kensington Palace to remember and celebrate her life and legacy." The statue is expected to be unveiled within the palace grounds in 2019.