The 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death has been marked in a manifold of ways, from a handful of official (and unofficial) documentaries to the planned unveiling of a new statue and a private memorial service, attended by her close family. None, however, have proved as controversial as a new floral tribute to the People’s Princess, recently unveiled at Chesterfield’s market place to widespread bemusement.
The well-dressing in question is a portrait of the late Princess of Wales fashioned from tiny flower petals, a technique that is traditional to Derbyshire, England. The tribute, however, certainly hasn’t had the desired effect — when Chesterfield Borough Council posted photos on their Facebook page, they were met with mixed responses, from mid-level trolling to outright horror. We’ll leave you to fully appreciate the photos for a moment…
One Facebook user described it as "truly horrendous," adding, "It’s so insulting to her memory. She was so beautiful and the [floral arrangement] is so ugly." Another believed that Princess Diana would have been able to see the funny side, writing "I saw it and thought, 'What an insult to Diana.' Luckily she had a sense of humor and would probably be laughing."
Others, however, focused on the efforts of the volunteers, with one user writing that, "while it might not be to everyone’s taste, I don’t see it as an insult to Princess Diana, and I don’t think it reflects badly on Chesterfield. It’s easy to sit and be sarcastic, much harder to actually do something." It can't be easy, after all, to recreate a portrait of one of the world's most recognized women using only natural materials like flowers and moss.
In response to the social media storm, a spokesperson for Chesterfield Council defended the installation, describing it as a "talking point." Speaking to the Derbyshire Times, he responded, "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." He continued to say, "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."
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This post was written by Kate Wagner. It originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.