Vegetable patch to be Diana memorial leek patch

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The Independent Online
AFTER MONTHS of deliberation and confusion, Parisians have finally picked a memorial for Diana, Princess of Wales - a vegetable garden.

Councillors in Paris's fourth arrondissement were bemused this week when they realised that the proposed "children's garden", dedicated to the Princess, would in fact be a vegetable plot in which young Parisians would learn how to grow their own food.

It is nothing more than "a thousand square metres of leeks", said Patrick Renaudot, a radical Socialist councillor.

Perhaps the Paris town hall thought that leeks were an appropriate commemoration for a former Princess of Wales. The Socialist opposition leader for the district, Dominique Bertinotti, said it was "absurd that children will be shown how to grow a cucumber in the Diana vegetable garden".

Lucien Finel, the mayor of the arrondissement, tried to defend the decision. "There will also be flowers," he said. But he admitted that he too thoughtDiana should have a more fitting memorial.

The mayor reminded his councillors that the vegetable garden was a fait accompli, imposed by the Paris town hall. In any case, if the Royal Family and the Spencer family had approved the idea, it ill-behoved French socialist politicians to be more royalist than the Royals, he said.

Shortly after the death of the Princess in August last year, in a car accident in Paris, there were demands from the French public and politicians for a permanent memorial to her.

There were suggestions that the Place de L'Alma, where the accident happened, should be re-named in her memory.

The Mayor of Paris, Jean Tiberi, eventually announcedthat, as a tribute to the Princess's love of children, the city wanted to add her name to a site devoted to young people, perhaps a school or a clinic.

With the agreement of the Princess's family, Buckingham Palace and the British Government, it was announced that the memorial would be a "children's garden" at the Rue des Blanc-Manteaux in the Marais district of Paris.

The British embassy said the garden had been approved by the Princess of Wales Foundation. "We are very happy with it."