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article imagePrincess Diana jam branded as 'sick'

By Mathew Wace Peck     Jul 10, 2010 in Food
A sweet conserve created by Bompas & Parr, which contains fragments of Princess Diana’s hair, has been branded as “sick” by an organisation that was set up to honour her memory.
The preserve was originally created by the jelly mongers for a surrealist exhibition, The Surreal House, which runs at the Barbican in London until 12 September. Priced at £5 per pot, the jam sold out within days of going on sale at the show and could now find its way on to supermarket shelves.
The story first broke in the Express, which quotes fans of the late Princess of Wales as having branded the product “sick”. Joan Berry of the Diana Circle – an organisation set up to honour her memory – told the newspaper: “These guys are obviously just trying to make money out of Diana’s name. It’s ridiculous. What would William and Harry think?”
However, the co-founder of the jam company, Sam Bompas, defended their preserve, saying that it was “jam as art”:
The milk jam takes a speck of Princess Diana’s hair and infuses it in gin before it is turned into jam with milk and sugar. We got the hair off eBay. There’s a chap in the States who buys up celebrity hair, then cuts it up into small pieces and sells it on. At the moment we are only selling it through the Barbican but I am speaking to a couple of really big retailers.
The idea behind it was to give people a little bit more than the pot of jam they normally have at the breakfast table. We chose Princess Diana because she has a real resonance. She’s one of those interesting, vivacious figures in contemporary culture like Kennedy. She’s also very universal. Some people might view it as a bit sick but that’s the point of it, in a way.
“Hopefully it’s provocative enough for people to ask themselves what they are actually putting in their mouths.
Set up in 2007 by Bompas and his school friend Henry Parr, Bompas and Parr is best known for creating food art out of gelatine desserts – jelly, or jello.
Occult Jam
The Diana conserve is part of their "Occult Jam" range, which also includes a plum-and-oak preserve, made with wood from Nelson’s ship, HMS Victory, and an absinthe-and-pineapple-flavour jam, infused with sand from the Great Pyramid of Giza.
In 2008, for what is thought to have been the first time ever, the duo made a recording of the sound of jelly wobbling. At the time of the 2008 London Festival of Architecture, the Telegraph reported that the “icky sticky sound of the dessert […] was recorded at University College London for a soundtrack that will be used at the end of the week in a bizarre ‘architectural jelly banquet’ where leading firms of architects will compete for recognition of their creative skills with this unusual medium”.
Diana, Princess of Wales died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. According to an article published in the Guardian in 2005, the Diana Circle was founded on the fourth anniversary of her death, in 2001, with the aim of “Keeping Her Memory Alive” and that its members “were determined to use their ‘combined strength’ to promote Diana’s interests”. It quoted one of the group’s members as saying, “The Diana Circle UK is non-political but believes Diana had a raw deal in life and also in death.”
However, its website now appears to be defunct.
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