In Depth

Chesterfield council defends ‘horrendous’ Diana tribute

Spokesman says online mockery shows floral display is a ‘talking point’

Chesterfield Borough Council have stepped in to defend a floral portrait of Princess Diana that went viral online for all the wrong reasons.

A spokesman for the council said that the display, the subject of much online mockery, “was made by a group of 14 volunteers, who between them spent around 120 hours producing it”, the Derbyshire Times reports.

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

The floral tribute to the late Princess of Wales was put on display on Saturday beside the historic market town’s Victorian water pump.

The memorial was inspired by the old English custom of well dressing, in which wells or springs are decorated with designs made from flower petals.

Volunteers painstakingly assembled the portrait in the traditional style, using petals, leaves, berries and eggshell. However, their work met with a mixed reception, to say the least.

Locals were the first to weigh in, with Derbyshire residents branding it “truly horrendous” and “an insult” to the much-loved royal, who died 20 years ago this year.

Then Twitter got hold of it, and all hell broke loose:

The story was picked up by news publications as far afield as Germany, Denmark and Australia. 

Italian daily Corriere della Sera called it “the ugliest-ever tribute to Lady D”, while France’s 20 Minutes poked fun at its “unfortunate colour choices and grotesque proportions”.

Chesterfield council have taken the backlash in their stride, however. "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,” the spokesman said.

There is still time for any curious out-of-towners to see the latest viral legend with their own eyes - it will remain on display in Chesterfield Market Place until 16 September.

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