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Wednesday, June 24, 1998 Published at 02:39 GMT 03:39 UK


Diana committee 'backs memorial garden'

The area earmarked for a memorial garden became an inpromptu shrine

The committee set up to vet memorials in the name of Diana, Princess of Wales, will give its backing to a controversial commemorative garden, according to the Daily Mail.

The garden, in the grounds of the late princess's home at Kensington Palace, is one of a handful of suggestions that will be given the seal of approval by the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Committee.

The committee, which includes Chancellor Gordon Brown, will meet in Downing Street on Wednesday to announce its "preliminary" advice on memorials, the paper says.

[ image: Committee member: Gordon Brown]
Committee member: Gordon Brown
As well as the memorial garden, it will also announce a new nursing scheme, a Diana medal for schoolchildren, a £5 coin, and a walkway shadowing the route of Diana's funeral procession.

Ideas which failed to receive the committee's approval include a public holiday or flag day to mark the Princess's birthday and a medal to be added to the honours system.

It is the £9m memorial garden that is likely to stir the strongest objections, mostly from Kensington residents who fear being swamped by tourists coming to pay their respects.

With estimated running costs of £75,000, the landscaped garden would cover 16 acres in front of Kensington Palace. The area became an impromptu floral shrine to the Princess in the days after her death last September.

[ image: Strong objector: Alan Clark MP]
Strong objector: Alan Clark MP
But last month disgruntled residents joined forces to oppose plans for the garden, which could draw five million visitors a year.

Local MP Alan Clark acts as a standard bearer for their cause and has called the garden an example of "new dumbed-down millennium culture."

The idea of a £5 coin is likely to prove popular with the public. It is reported that the coins would bear Diana's head on one side and the Queen's on the other.

Nursing tribute

The nursing proposal - already dubbed "Diana's angels"- is expected to work alongside established schemes such as Macmillan nurses.

The 10-strong committee has been flooded with ideas for different ways to commemorate the princess.

They include an eternal flame similar to the Kennedy memorial in Washington; a monument or statue; a network of hospices across the country bearing the Princess's name and a new footbridge across the Thames.

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