'Insulting' Princess Diana memorial sparks social media backlash

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A council has defended its floral tribute to Princess Diana after the portrait was mocked by thousands of people on social media.

The artwork, created to mark the 20th anniversary of the princess’ death, was unveiled in the centre of Chesterfield, near Sheffield at the weekend.

“Is it made of weetabix?” one cynic wrote on Twitter, while another suggested it could “double up as a Halloween decoration” next month.

Many found the portrait hilarious, with several people wondering whether it had been produced by children from a local primary school.

But others are less impressed and have called for the tribute to be taken down. 

Royal icon: Princess Diana (PA)

Local resident Gayla Tuckley said: “I saw it and thought what an insult to Diana… luckily she had a sense of humour and would probably be laughing if she could see it or cared.

‘Horrific’: The memorial has been deemed unnerving by many people, including local residents. (Chesterfield Council)

“But still it needs taking down it’s not nice at all.”

Karen Byfleet wrote online: “Absolutely horrendous, makes me ashamed to say I come from Chesterfield.

“Chesterfield Borough Council you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

The three-panelled piece of art was put up at the Town Pump as part of Derbyshire’s custom of well dressing – a summer tradition to decorate wells with brightly-coloured pictures.

Well dressing: The tribute was unveiled in Chesterfield Market Place at the weekend. (Chesterfield Council)

In a statement the council defended the well dressing, adding “all art is meant to be a talking point”.

A spokesman said it was made by a group of 14 volunteers, who together spent around 120 hours working on the project last week using flowers including carnations, chrysanthemums, camomile flowers, cow parsley, leaves grass seeds, rowan berries and egg shell.

The Chesterfield Borough Council spokesman said: “The well dressing is produced by 14 volunteers using the ancient Derbyshire art of well dressing, which involves creating designs from flower petals and other natural materials.

“All art is meant to be a talking point and that certainly seems to be the case with this year’s design. 

“The well dressing is designed to attract visitors to the area and if the publicity encourages more people to come and visit the market and local shops then that can only be good for Chesterfield.”

Diana’s bodyguard: Her legacy lives on with William and Harry

Last week marked 20 years from the death of the Princess in a car crash in Paris. The anniversary sparked a fresh outpouring of grief across the country and in London, where crowds gathered at the gates of her former home Kensington Palace.

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