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Friday, May 1, 1998 Published at 20:23 GMT 21:23 UK


Diana memorial 'no Graceland'
image: [ Memorial is due to open on Diana's birthday ]
Memorial is due to open on Diana's birthday

Earl Spencer, brother of the late Princess of Wales, has said he is "battered" by suggestions that the planned Diana memorial and museum are a money-spinning exercise.

Addressing a charity lunch in Brisbane, Australia, the earl promised that Princess Diana's grave would not become Britain's answer to Graceland - the extravagant home that became a shrine for Elvis Presley fans.

[ image: Earl Spencer rejects suggestions that the memorial is to be a money-spinner]
Earl Spencer rejects suggestions that the memorial is to be a money-spinner
"I am primarily to honour what Diana achieved, and secondly to make the exhibition a meaningful experience for those who come and then, only then, to try to make money for charity," he said.

"I want to capture the modernity, style, freshness and flair of a woman who, put simply, did a lot of good for a lot of people."

Work is proceeding on the memorial and museum in the grounds of Althorp House, the Spencer family's Northamptonshire home where Diana spent her childhood.

BBC Court Correspondent Jenny Bond reports on Earl Spencer's comments
It is due to open in two months, on what would have been the princess's 37th birthday.

Already, 152,000 people have paid £9.50 to see the grave and museum. Visitors will not be allowed onto the island where the princess is buried, but will be able to view the grave from the shore of the lake that surrounds the island.

Kensington controversy

Meanwhile, controversy is mounting over plans to build a memorial garden to Princess Diana at Kensington Palace in London.

The Tory leader of Kensington & Chelsea council, Joan Hanham, has demanded an explanation about the proposals from the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, who heads the Princess of Wales Memorial Committee.

Mrs Hanham said residents are worried that the memorial could attract up to five million visitors each year, causing widespread local disruption.

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