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Monday, May 18, 1998 Published at 00:45 GMT 01:45 UK


New outrage over Diana doll

The fund receives 200 applications for Diana product licences a week

An American firm has become the latest company to be accused of violating the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, selling a Diana doll wearing a similar outfit to that worn by the princess when she was campaigning in Angola to ban landmines.

[ image: The doll comes with several sets of Diana clothes ...]
The doll comes with several sets of Diana clothes ...
The 15-inch toy costs about £60 ($100) and has a collection of outfits which will go on sale one at a time.

Adverts in the US for the toy, made by Franklin Mint, state: "They will include other fashion ensembles from Diana's historic world travels, to dress up your Diana, The People's Princess Doll, including the casual outfit she wore when she visited Angola on her historic peacekeeping mission."

The doll has already been attacked by a trustee of the official Diana charity fund. Vivienne Parry believes it is undignified.

[ image: ... including her wedding dress]
... including her wedding dress
"To me, a collector's doll is something that is special, an heirloom, whose clothes don't come on and off, that can be kept in a treasured place and passed on from one generation to another," she told BBC1's Panorama.

"I get very angry when I see some of the products that are advertised because what these companies are doing is stealing.

"They are stealing the princess's image, they're stealing from the very people she wanted to help. I think that is unacceptable."

The Panorama programme to be broadcast in the UK at 22.00 BST also reveals that the Princess of Wales Memorial Fund is currently considering 1,000 commercial deals that could raise millions of pounds.

[ image: Allowing the Diana logo to be used on tubs of margarine was controversial]
Allowing the Diana logo to be used on tubs of margarine was controversial
The fund is currently receiving more than 200 applications a week, and looks likely to continue, despite being sharply criticised by Diana's brother Earl Spencer and her mother Raine Spencer.

"Many people are not expecting the fund to sort of splutter and then go out like a firework," said Andrew Purkis, the fund's newly appointed chief executive.

"I would have thought that the basic idea of a living memorial is that the memory of the Princess of Wales can be sustained through not just things, monuments, but through a living process of helping people in need and keeping going."

But the Director of the Institute of Fund Raising Managers, Stephen Lee, criticised the fund. Asked to give it a mark out of 10, he told the Panorama: "If I were to be charitable I would probably say about one or two. If I were to be honest I'd have to say probably minus three or four, and that's a great sadness."

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Internet Links

The BBC's Diana tribute site

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Althorp House

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