Fundraising News: Diana fund signs babywear deal

Joe Gill

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund has signed a three-year product licensing deal with Japanese babywear manufacturer, Aprica, to raise millions of pounds for the troubled fund, whose cash assets are still frozen because of its legal dispute with US souvenir firm Franklin Mint.

Aprica is also at the forefront of research into child development in Japan. The fund, which faced criticisms over its endorsement of Flora margarine for the 1998 London Marathon, said it chose Aprica because of its ethical reputation.

The launch date for the range of romper suits, baby mugs, pushchairs and nightgowns, which will carry the late princess's signature and crest, is likely to be this autumn. It will coincide with the launch of another book celebrating Diana's life and work, Diana: The Portrait.

Royalties from the Diana range of maternity and infant products will go towards projects backed by the charity, the fund confirmed.

However, it denied that the deal was aimed at getting around the suspension of grant giving, which was imposed by the legal case in the US and is due to go to court in Los Angeles in the autumn.

A fund spokeswoman said: "Hopefully, we will be out of the deep freeze by the time this begins. There are mechanisms that could ensure that funds go towards projects, but how and what is not certain at this stage."

The fund is currently receiving royalties from a tour of the Althorp exhibition on Diana's work in the US and Canada. Funds raised will go towards campaign work dealing with cluster munitions.

Franklin Mint launched a suit for "malicious prosecution" against the fund last summer, leading to the freezing of the fund's grant-making to 127 charities.

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