After nearly 13 years on display as one of Harrods’ most coveted tourist attractions, Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed’s memorial statue has finally been removed. The bronze figure, which reads “Innocent Victims,” commemorated their untimely deaths in a Paris car crash just over 21 years ago. Now the memory is safe with Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al-Fayed , the former owner of the luxury department store.
The Egyptian businessman has decided to take the statue home, The Daily Mail reports. Though it received mixed reviews from the public, with some feeling it was a garish reminder of a heartbreaking story, Mohamed says he’s at ease knowing the couple’s happiness, frozen in time, is safe with his family. “It is a blessing and a comfort to have the statue of Dodi and Princess Diana in the privacy of our family home after having shared it with the public for so many years in Harrods,” he shared.
Mohamed continued: “Dodi was a wonderful son who lived life to the full and this statue of them both at one of the happiest times of their lives is a perpetual memory to their love and their fulfilled lives. The tragedy and pain of their deaths never eases and we as a family all constantly feel the pain of loss every day.”
While the 10-foot-tall statue once sat nestled between two giant escalators in the luxury London store, it now rests showcased in Mohamed’s garden in Surrey, leaving nothing but a discoloured slab of marble in its wake. Dodi’s father commissioned his close friend William Mitchell to complete the piece, which depicts his son and the People’s Princess holding an albatross, a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
But loyal fans of the late Princess of Wales have more to look forward to in the next year. In December, Prince William and Prince Harry announced they are in the process of creating a new sculpture of Diana, set to be completed by renowned artist Ian Rank-Broadly and unveiled in 2019. 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.”