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English Town Defends Viral Princess Diana Tribute: ‘It Has Been Done with the Best of Intentions’


English Town Defends Viral Princess Diana Tribute: ‘It Has Been Done with the Best of Intentions’
English Town Defends Viral Princess Diana Tribute: ‘It Has Been Done with the Best of Intentions’

The infamous botched restoration of Ecce Homo — a 19th-century Spanish fresco of Jesus that went viral after a failed clean-up — might have some competition.

In the English market town of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, a floral tribute to Princess Diana intended to memorialize the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death is making news for the wrong reason.

Made entirely from natural materials as part of an ancient English tradition known as “well dressing,” the tribute took 14 volunteers more than 120 hours to produce using carnations, chrysanthemums, camomile flowers, cow parsley, rowan berries and egg shell.

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The portrait — which is on display in Chesterfield’s market square until Saturday — has some locals comparing it to Rod Stewart or a zombie apocalypse, and others simply calling it “hilarious.”

“That’s literally the funniest thing I’ve seen all year,” Chesterfield local Julie Renshaw wrote on the local council’s Facebook page. “Best laugh I’ve had in ages!”

Fellow local Mark Patrick added: “I don’t know about ‘forever in our hearts’ — it’s more like forever in our eternal nightmares after seeing this.”

A spokesperson for the local council told PEOPLE that the response to the artwork had “been overwhelming” since the images were first posted on their Facebook page — before going on to describe the look of the portrait as “interesting.”

“All art is meant to be a talking point, and that certainly seems to be the case with this year’s design,” adds a second spokesperson. “But it has all been done with the best of intentions by the volunteers, who pick a different theme every year based on a prominent anniversary or item in the news.

“Clearly views have been mixed among the public, but the volunteers have been receiving messages of support from around the world.”

Another local, Emma-Lee Rose, defended the tribute on Facebook. “Maybe it’s not an exact likeness guys, but come on! People have put a lot of effort into this when they didn’t need to! Done something nice for Chesterfield and for Diana,” she wrote. “Show some respect. I know for one I couldn’t do a better job! Someone’s spent hours of their time making this, bless ’em!”

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