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Tuesday, April 28, 1998 Published at 01:19 GMT 02:19 UK


Diana trustees reconsider policy

The trustees of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, are to meet to discuss their future policy after strong criticism of the products being endorsed.

[ image: The Diana bear]
The Diana bear
A spokeswoman said the meeting would include issues such as the length of time the fund should run.

The meeting comes after Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, and the princess's brother, Earl Spencer, called for it to be wound up.

They are strongly critical of some of the products endorsed by it, such as the Diana scratchcard, tubs of margarine with her signature on it, and the latest product, a teddy bear in royal purple with a twee poem attached to its ear.

[ image: ... and its poem]
... and its poem
The fund is still receiving 200 applications a week, even though it has suspended its commercial activities. The BBC's Court Correspondent Jennie Bond says the fund now rejects most of the applications it receives - including tasteless proposals such as a Diana colonic irrigation kit, and People's Princess slippers.

Diana's sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, is the fund's president and the chairman is her former lawyer Anthony Julius. Anthony Gibbins, her former financial adviser is also on the board, while her former butler, Paul Burrell, is fundraising manager.

Stephen Lee, from the Institute of fundraising managers said: "There's this confusion between the personal and the professional which is taking our attention away from the most important thing here ... to mark with respect and in a positive way the enormous spirit and value of the life of the princess."

Neither Mrs Shand Kydd, or Earl Spencer, have recommended a specific time limit for the fund, and they have told trustees that they both fully support the fund and its president while it remains active.

Earl Spencer's spokeswoman said: "They voiced their concerns and, from what I understand, the trustees had a meeting about it and discussed it. They took the points on board and that's what the family wanted.

[ image: The Diana scratchcard]
The Diana scratchcard
"They feel the fund should have a very finite life, but they are going to support it however long it exists. The earl completely backs the fund. He still supports it and always has."

Mrs Shand Kydd said a letter was sent to trustees earlier this month, written on behalf of herself and her son.

She said it "expressed concerns and asked questions" about the way the fund was being run.

"As a family we all support Sarah. We think she has a very hard task which she carries out with courage and integrity," added Mrs Shand Kydd.

[ image: Diana margarine]
Diana margarine
Paul Burrell, the princess's butler and now the chief fundraiser, said: "I have very strong and definite feelings which I can't discuss, but the memorial fund will continue to go forward."

Landmines victim Chris Moon, who ran in the London Marathon on Sunday to raise money for the memorial fund, said: "I think what we have to remember is that the fund has one of the enormous powers for good."

Last month, the memorial fund, which receives more than £1m a week, announced its first round of one-off grants, totalling £13m, to 100 organisations.

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26 Apr 98†|†UK
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Internet Links

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund

BBC Diana, Princess of Wales tribute site

Althorp House

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