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Flowers, Poem, Song for Beloved Princess

September 06, 1997|Times staff and wire reports

CASHING IN: Despite the enormous potential demand, British manufacturers and retailers are so far thinking carefully before issuing books, plates, mugs and other mementos commemorating Princess Diana. "It's a difficult thing, because you can't be seen as being tacky or somehow cashing in," said Simon Winter, spokesman for HMV UK Ltd., a major music retailer in London. Most of the publishing houses that have printed intimate books about Diana said they have no plans to issue more Diana books now, even though the major London bookstores have sold out of the older books. An exception was the Orion Publishing Group, which plans to issue a photo book on Friday. But an Orion spokeswoman said it had been in the works before Diana died.

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STEMMING THE TIDE: In spite of the massive demand for flowers, the London Flowers and Plants Assn. said that there would be enough blossoms to go around today because so many other big flower-consuming events, such as weddings and parties, had been canceled. The trade group said the only shortage was in white flowers. It said the mourning period for Diana will create "the largest floral tribute to be recorded in the United Kingdom."

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STAMPED IN MEMORY: Aside from flowers and photo-laden magazine "tribute" issues, there has been little available in London this week for the Diana-memento hunter, except for postage stamps. David Crocker, a director of Stanley Gibbons, a large stamp dealership, said that the price of postage stamps bearing Diana's image had doubled in the past week, to about $8 for a stamp with a 22- to 40-cent face value. Those issued for Diana's wedding to Prince Charles are now "virtually sold out," Crocker said.

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BRACING THE HORSES: Soldiers screamed and hurled newspapers at six gleaming black horses to be sure they could remain calm while taking Princess Diana's coffin to Westminster Abbey. "Obviously, they don't like it, but certainly in training they did not react and kept going," said Maj. Keith Brooks, commander of the King's Troop. The three pairs of light Irish draught horses had been trained "for all contingencies, such as people jumping over barriers or throwing items such as flowers at the gun carriage," Brooks said.

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A GIANT 'CANDLE': Elton John's new version of "Candle in the Wind," rewritten from a tribute to Marilyn Monroe to eulogize Princess Diana, could well become the world's biggest-selling single ever, music industry experts predicted. John said he would record a piano-and-vocal version, beginning "Goodbye England's rose," after performing it at Diana's funeral. All profits will go to the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fund. The biggest-selling single worldwide is Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," recorded in 1942, which has sold more than 170 million copies.

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POEM FOR THE PRINCESS: Ted Hughes, the poet laureate who chronicles Britain's royal family, has published a poem for Princess Diana's funeral. Joanna Mackle, of publishers Faber and Faber, said that Hughes, while retaining copyright, had agreed to its publication in print or other media but asked that donations be made to a memorial fund for Diana. The poem, "6 September 1997":

Mankind is many rivers

That only want to run.

Holy Tragedy and Loss

Make the many One.

Mankind is a Holy, crowned

Mother and her Son.

For worship, for mourning:

God is here, is gone.

Love is broken on the Cross.

The Flower on the Gun.

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