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Sunday, July 5, 1998 Published at 00:55 GMT 01:55 UK


Archbishop says stop 'wallowing' over Diana

Thousands mourned for Diana at her funeral and all over the UK

The Archbishop of York has called for people to stop "wallowing" in the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

[ image: But Dr Hope has told people to 'move on']
But Dr Hope has told people to 'move on'
Speaking seven weeks before the anniverary of her death, the Most Rev David Hope, England's second-most senior bishop, said that the late princess should not be worshipped.

He warned that the country was in danger of "clinging too much to the icon" as it developed into a personality cult.

But while Dr Hope spoke out over Diana in the run-up to the first anniversary of her death on August 31, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, issued a statement saying it was "surely right to thank God" for the Princess's life.

Country must 'move on'

Dr Hope said that he wanted to sound a note of caution ahead of the anniversary of Diana's death and recommended that if people want to remember her they should give to her charities.

His words echo warnings from some academics who have suggested that a personality cult could develop around the princess.

[ image: Elton John also called for an end to tributes]
Elton John also called for an end to tributes
The singer Elton John, who performed at the princess' funeral, has already added to these voices by calling for people to 'give the tributes a rest'.

But the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has accused those claiming "fake sentimentality" of being snobs.

Sounding his warning, Dr Hope said: "We need to begin to move on and part of that moving on is the letting go".

Letting go was difficult because of the "constant stream" of photographs of the princess which continued to appear every day, he said.

"We need to be beware of clinging to the icon," he added. "There is some element of wallowing in her death.

"Let's not get totally swept up in indulging our emotions but instead reflect on her life and ask, 'What does this mean for me?'"

Public mourning 'inevitable'

[ image: But Dr Carey says mourning is inevitable]
But Dr Carey says mourning is inevitable
While Dr Hope called for restraint over mourning for Diana, a spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury said the two most senior clergy of the Church of England were not divided over how the UK should mark the anniversary.

Dr Carey has distributed to churches the special prayers he delivered at Diana's funeral last year.

In a message to clergy, Dr Carey said he believed that it was "inevitable" that the public would turn their thoughts to the princess and her family in the coming weeks.

While he cautioned against churches stimulating emotion, he said: "It is surely right to thank God for the Princess of Wales' compassion and the hope she brought to so many needy people, and to pray for His blessing on her sons".

Dr Carey's six prayers are aimed at church services to be held on Sunday August 31, the day before the anniversary of Diana's death.

They include the prayers he read out at Westminster Abbey for the Princess's life and work, and another for the Royal Family in their loss.

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