London: London luxury department store Harrods said today it was taking down a statue of the late Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed and returning it to former owner Mohamed Al Fayed.
Al Fayed commissioned the bronze statue, which shows his son and Diana holding hands and releasing a bird, after they were killed in a Paris car crash in 1997.
It remained there after he sold Harrods to the investment arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund in 2010.
But the store’s managing director, Michael Ward, said it was now time to return it, noting that Diana’s sons Princes William and Harry were commissioning their own statue to their mother at Kensington Palace.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Al Fayed has accused the royals of masterminding the death of Diana and his son, and as a result, Harrods lost its royal warrant in 2000.
A spokesman for the Al Fayed family told The Times newspaper it was “grateful” to Qatar Holdings for preserving the memorial of the couple, adding: “It is now time to bring them home.