Photos: Princess Diana's life

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  1. Lady Diana Frances Spencer, later Princess Diana of Wales (1961-1997), is shown July 1, 1963, at Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk, England. (Keystone via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Lady Diana Spencer, then a children's nanny, is shown with two of her charges in 1980, the year before she married Prince Charles. (Hulton Archive via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Lady Diana Spencer playfully gestures toward photographers during a visit to Broadlands, the former home of Earl Mountbatten, in Romsey, England, on May 9, 1981. Walking behind her is police bodyguard Graham Smith. (Tim Graham / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Princess Diana and Prince Charles are shown on their wedding day in London on July 29, 1981. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Princess Diana dances with actor John Travolta during a visit to the White House in 1985. (Tim Graham Picture Library via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A 1986 Emanuel ball gown worn by late Princess Diana is displayed on a mannequin during an auction in London, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. According to the auction house, Diana wore the gown with gold sequins, crystals and pearl beads comes with matching headband, optional sleeve panels and petticoat, in various occasions. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) Mandatory Credit: Photo by Today/REX USA (105461a) PRINCESS DIANA Richard Von Weizsacker state visit, banquet at the German Ambassador's residence, London, Britain - Jul 1986 (AP, Rex USA) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Princess Diana visits a hostel for abandoned children, many of whom are HIV-positive or suffer from AIDS, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on April 24, 1991. (Tim Graham Picture Library via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Princess Diana chats with Mother Teresa during a visit to a convent in Rome on Feb. 19, 1992. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Prince Charles and Princess Diana are shown during their last official trip together, in Seoul, South Korea, on Nov. 3, 1992. They attended a banquet at the government Blue House in Seoul. (Tim Graham Picture Library via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Princess Diana returns to Kensington Palace in London on Dec. 9, 1992, after the initial announcement that she and Prince Charles would separate. (Thierry Saliou / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Princess Diana leaves a press conference at the Hilton Hotel, London, in which she gave a speech resigning from her public duties, on Dec. 3, 1993. (Hulton Archive via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Princess Diana watches a military parade on V-J Day, Aug. 19, 1995, in London with her sons Harry, second left, and William, second right, and Prince Charles, right. (Johnny Eggitt / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Princess Diana smiles during a visit to Leicester, England, on May 27, 1997. (John Stillwell / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Princess Diana tours a minefield dressed in a flak jacket and face shield in Huambo, Angola, on Jan. 15, 1997. The visit was part of Diana's campaign to raise awareness for victims of landmines. (John Stillwell / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Princess Diana attends a preview party at Christies, New York, on June 23, 1997, for an auction of her dresses. Lord Hindlip, chairman of Christies International, accompanies her. (Tim Graham Picture Library via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. From left, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Earl Charles Spencer (Princess Diana's brother), Prince William and Prince Philip (Charles' father) watch the coffin bearing Diana's body being taken into Westminster Abbey, London, on Sept. 6, 1997. (John Gaps III / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Prince William, left, and Prince Harry appear on stage during the star-studded Concert for Diana, which honored their mother, at London's Wembley Stadium on July 1, 2007. More than 60,000 people attended the event on what would have been the princess' 46th birthday. (Stephen Hird / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. A photograph and plastic flower in memory of the late Princess Diana sit within the grounds of Kensington Palace, London, on Aug. 30, 2007, a day before a memorial service in honor of the late princess. (Lefteris Pitarakis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 8/30/2007 9:43:54 AM ET 2007-08-30T13:43:54

At a golden statue of a flickering flame, fans of Princess Diana pay homage to her in Paris, leaving behind poems and prayers even now, 10 years after she died nearby.

A French child’s collage proclaims her “unforgettable.” An Italian fan scrawls, “I still love you.”

But contrary to popular belief, the statue wasn’t built for Diana; it was merely appropriated by her fans.

With the 10th anniversary of her death on Friday, a few fans say it’s time she had a Paris monument in her honor — something permanent, unlike the memorabilia swept away regularly by trash collectors — and they have begun a fundraising drive.

‘Shocking and flagrant’
Dominique de Fontenay says he thinks about Diana every day as he passes through the Pont d’Alma traffic tunnel where she died in a car crash, and he is always struck by the lack of a monument.

“That seems shocking and flagrant, given Diana’s notoriety and the love that most people all over the world felt for her,” said de Fontenay, a 34-year-old event planner who conceived the project.

De Fontenay teamed up with a jeweler and sculptor, Xavier de Fraissinette, who sketched out ideas for a bronze statue of a suit-clad Diana reaching out to a small child holding a bouquet.

“The hardest thing will be getting her expression, her smile, her face right,” said de Fraissinette, who designed a sculpture for the Lyon, France, meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized nations in 1996. “It must not be a mortuary monument, she must be natural.”

Raising money, slowly
After a few mentions in the local press, about 150 people have donated a total of $9,500, the two said. Building the statue will require $240,000, said de Fontenay, a Diana fan who remembers joining up with crowds to mourn the princess after the Aug. 31, 1997, crash that killed her, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and their chauffeur, Henri Paul.

“I think everyone on the planet who had a heart was depressed that day, or at least filled with a great sadness,” said de Fontenay, who named his cat “Princess” in Diana’s honor.

The plans by de Fontenay and de Fraissinette are in the early stages and do not have approval from Paris City Hall, where the press office said officials were not aware of their campaign. The process could be long, and they will need approval from the city council.

De facto memorial
For now, the torch statue near the traffic tunnel remains the de facto memorial. A replica of the Statue of Liberty’s torch, it was donated in 1987 by the International Herald Tribune newspaper as a symbol of French-American friendship.

Ten years later, mourners turned the torch into a Diana shrine, which seemed fitting because Elton John sang “Candle in the Wind” at her funeral in London’s Westminster Abbey.

On any given afternoon, dozens of tourists crowd around the torch, snapping pictures and leaving behind cellophane-wrapped roses. After posing for a snapshot, 29-year-old Arijit Ray of London said he wished de Fontenay and de Fraissinette luck.

“There should be a statue,” he said.

De Fontenay already has a spot picked out — a grassy garden right above the tunnel where the crash took place.

“It’s all ready. There are flowers. All that’s missing is Diana,” he said.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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