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Sunday, February 15, 1998 Published at 02:12 GMT


'Tacky' Diana souvenirs criticised
image: [ Merchandise in memory of Princess Diana is in huge demand ]
Merchandise in memory of Princess Diana is in huge demand

The Prime Minister has condemned some of the souvenir produced since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, as "inappropiate and tacky."

Tony Blair is said to be concerned about the commercial exploitation of Princess Diana's death and the effect it is having on her sons, according to the Prime Minister's spokesman.

"At the time of her death, everyone was very clear about the need to protect her grieving children and her family," the spokesman told Sunday newspapers.

"There now seems to be an industry growing up with books, films and all the other paraphernalia, including newspaper serialisations.

"People are seeking to perpetuate the story of her death for their own commercial ends. The Prime Minister regards this as tacky and inappropriate."

[ image: Ideas for Diana memorabilia seem endless]
Ideas for Diana memorabilia seem endless
In the five months since Princess Diana's death large amounts of unauthorised souvenirs have been produced.

These include coins, plates, mugs, T-shirts and souvenir ashtrays.

Tony Blair's office did not direct his comments at specific products. His viewpoints are not thought likely to lead to any items being banned.

Major distressed

Mr Blair's comments have the backing of his political opponents.

The former Conservative Prime Minister John Major was also said to be distressed about the commercialisation of Princess Diana's image.

"I am sure the Princess of Wales's dearest wish would have been to protect her sons," he said. "Much of the publicity now emerging is shoddy and can only add to their distress."

Mr Major is acting as guardian of the financial interests of Princes William and Harry.

For his part, the Liberal Democrat leader, Paddy Ashdown, said: "People hold Princess Diana, her memory and all she stood for in tremendous respect.

"We must not allow this to degenerate into bad taste and cheap money-making."

Trustees of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund are expected to finalise a copyright agreement to protect the use of photographs of the Princess in the next two weeks.

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The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund

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BBC Special Report: Diana Remembered

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