Flamme fatale: On place de l’Alma an oversized metallic flame holds vigil over the tunnel where Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed perished in a highspeed encounter with a concrete pillar on 31 August 1997. The statue has nothing to do with the people’s princess; it was, like her, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Erected by the Paris-based International Herald Tribune to celebrate its centennial in 1987, this replica of the flame from the Statue of Liberty’s torch was financed by well-meaning US–American friendship. With that in short supply, the edifice has always suffered from something of an identity crisis. Along came Di’s tragic rendezvous, and its tidal wave of flowers, candles, tokens and graffiti that damaged the statue’s gilded surface.
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