After two years of delays and disagreements, the British government has finally agreed--more or less--on a formal memorial honoring Diana, the Princess of Wales.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, the man who dubbed Diana "the people's princess" after her death in an auto crash in August 1997, said "a lasting memorial of some kind, for example a fountain" will be built in her memory. The location still isn't certain, but Blair said it would probably be in one of the royal parks in London.
Last year, an official commission recommended creation of a Diana Memorial Fountain in front of Kensington Palace, Diana's last home. That plan went down in flames because nearby residents complained that a memorial would cause traffic jams in their expensive neighborhood.
There was speculation that the memorial might be placed in Green Park, near the royal mall in central London. Green Park is not a residential area, so presumably there would be few neighbors to complain. On the other hand, it is next to Buckingham Palace, home of Queen Elizabeth, the mother-in-law whom Diana reportedly despised.
Diana was more popular than any other member of the British royal family during her lifetime, and she soared to the status of demigod on the huge wave of mourning that followed her sudden death. Paintings, gardens, fountains and statues in her memory were quickly created all over Britain. It seemed inevitable that the government would create some formal memorial in London.
Three weeks ago, as the nation passed the second anniversary of Diana's death with minimal fanfare, the tabloid newspaper the Mirror launched a front-page crusade to build a memorial. Nearly 200,000 readers signed petitions for a memorial. Several of Diana's high-profile friends, including Elton John, spoke up as well.