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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 August 2007, 22:41 GMT 23:41 UK
Feelings mixed over Diana mementos
By Hugh Pym
Business correspondent, BBC News


From ceiling to floor it must be one of the biggest collections of Diana memorabilia anywhere - and it is in a private house in Wembley, north London.

There's a mural on the ceiling, plates, mugs, portraits and a lot, lot more.

Margaret Tyler is as devoted a Diana fan as they come.

She has set aside a whole room in her home for a lovingly assembled collection purchased by her and members of the family.

"It has taken me 10 years to get the room as it is now but it's been a labour of love because everything I have bought, I've enjoyed," Margaret said.

She has been a willing customer of the Diana industry which still produces the goods 10 years on.

If every buyer was so enthusiastic, souvenir shops would do a roaring trade.

'Mixed feelings'

Lambert Souvenirs in Whitehall has a Diana display in the middle of the shop, largely made up of mugs and plates.

We're not a fund-raising operation - the commercial licensing operation is almost completely wound down now
Astrid Bonfield
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund

Business was steady, they said, but not sensational.

Indeed fridge magnets of Big Ben or the union jack were generally bigger sellers than the Dianaware.

And among those paying their respects in a muted atmosphere at Kensington Palace, there were mixed feelings about Diana memorabilia.

One visitor said she would be on the look out for mugs and other souvenirs. Another said she was interested in memories not mementos.

Diana plate by the Franklin Mint
A Diana plate by the Franklin Mint led to legal action

Managers of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund told the BBC that official licensing of souvenirs would soon be phased out.

More than a third of their income over the last decade has come from revenue linked to these licensed products, including the Diana roses.

But the fund's strategy now is to give away its capital over the next five years and not seek to raise new money.

"We're not a fund-raising operation and in that sense the commercial licensing operation will cease completely next year - it's almost completely wound down now," said fund chief executive Dr Astrid Bonfield.

Media obsession?

There are said to be about 15 Diana related books on sale - but leading book retailers do not seem to be making a prominent feature of them.

There do not seem to be many big displays in shop windows to coincide with the anniversary. The Diana books are mostly on the biography shelves.

Diana look-alikes were hoping for a busy few weeks. But so far three advertised at one London agency have not had any bookings.

The real Diana, however, is still helping sell newspapers and magazines around the world.

Already this year there have been as many mentions in the media as there were in 2002, the fifth anniversary of her death.

In the media, if not the souvenir shops, she remains a big draw.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Margaret Tyler shows off her collection





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