Diana, from glitter to garage sales

August 26, 1998

The following editorial appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News on Monday:

The princess is dead; long live the princess souvenir industry.

In the year since the death of Princess Diana, clever capitalists the world over have invoked her image to sell candle holders, toilet seat covers, toilet brushes, air fresheners, a car breakdown kit, seat belts, compact discs and a colonic irrigation kit.

In anticipation of a peak in the junk consumption, the Princess Diana Memorial Fund threatened last week to take legal action against 50 companies worldwide that it says are making unauthorized souvenirs.

Of course, the official fund itself has no great claims on taste, having bestowed its imprimatur -- Diana's distinctive signature -- on, among other items, plastic margarine tubs.

And the princess' own brother, he of the diatribe against the press for turning her into a commodity, has his own scam -- a museum near her final resting place that charges $16.15 admission.

It's tacky and shameful, but these image-brokers are only responding to the needs of individuals willing to spend money on memorial toilet brushes. The connections are no more artificial now than when her image and privacy were to sell magazines when she was alive.

No doubt Diana Spencer, the woman, is sorely missed by those who actually knew her, especially her sons. For the rest, now she belongs to the garage sales.

Pub Date: 8/26/98

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