Have you seen the world famous exhibit of Princess Diana yet? If not, you better hurry to see Diana, A Celebration at the Western Reserve Historical Society before it leaves Cleveland on June 10 to go home to London.
The exhibit is a one of a kind tribute to one of the most prominent figures the world has embraced in recent centuries. Some would say Jacqueline Kennedy rivaled her for this lofty position, but others would argue that Princess Diana's appeal was international and as such reached many more people.
The exhibit is 10,000 square feet with separate rooms for different aspects of Diana's life, and death. The first three galleries are dedicated to her childhood.
The Tiara Exhibit, The Spencer Women and Diana's childhood are the subject matter of these three introductory rooms. Earphones throughout the room can be listened to and the voice of her brother, Charles Spencer, describes their young life together.
Quote about Princess Diana
from her brother Charles Spencer
The Engagement and Wedding Rooms are next and the centerpiece of this room has to be the dress she wore July 29, 1981 when Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles and became Princess of Wales. Though encased in glass, all of its glamour can be experienced in a very personal way.
Princess Diana Royal Wedding Dress
The train alone, which is 25 feet in length, commands your attention as you enter the room. It is said that the media tried desperately to get a sneak preview of the dress. So much so that David and Elizabeth Emmanuel, the gowns designers, drew fake sketches and threw them in the trash for the press to "find."
Princess Diana Wedding Dress Train
Deails of the Royal Wedding of 20 year old
Diana and Prince Charles
The next room is set aside to remember Diana's charitable work. In fact, a portion of the proceeds of the exhibit go directly to her foundation which services the individual charities she worked for.
The People's Princess Charitable Foundation, Inc. funds, among other things, removal of land mines left behind after war and efforts to ban landmine usage world wide.
The outfit Diana wore in her anti-landmine efforts
The next room is the one said to be the "tear jerker" room - the room that has the thousands of guests dabbing their eyes. This is the Tribute Gallery and it is followed by The Condolence Room.
Westminster Abbey - Funeral of Diana Princess of Wales - Saturday 6 September 1997 - 11:00 a.m.
As you look at all of the memorabilia you can hear Elton John singing Candle In The Wind, the song he wrote as a tribute to her. There are volumes and volumes of books consisting of messages from people all over the world offering their sympathy, love and support for the Princess who died so young.
Princess Diana outfit with matching clothes for sons Prince William and Prince Harry
The handwritten text of the moving eulogy her brother gave at her funeral is projected onto a display wall for everyone to see and read.
The Costume Gallery or Style Room s next and the gowns displayed can only be described as elegant. They represent designs by Versace, Azagury, Valentino and of course, Chanel.
Jacques Azagury Graphite Black evening dress
worn by Princess Diana in 1997
Jacques Azagury Scarlet evening dress worn by Princess Diana during her visit to Washington in 1997
Some of the gowns worn by Princess Diana
The Exhibit travels with a Gift Shop and the Historical Society has one of their own which includes many pieces pertaining to the exhibit.
Items from the Gift Shop
The big seller in the Museum shop, for children and adults alike, is a princess wand that lights up and sells as fast as they are put out. There is also a popular Exhibit catalog for $25.00 that many people have purchased.
In our time at the Western Reserve Historical Society, we met people from several states who came to town just for the Diana exhibit. We are fortunate to live so close.
Western Reserve Historical Society entrance
Because the show is winding down and so many people are interested in seeing it, the Western Reserve Historical Society is extending its hours for the duration. On Friday and Saturday May 24 & 25 the exhibit will stay open until 8:00 p.m. The following week, starting on Wednesday the exhibit will be open every night until 8 and until 9:00 on June 9th and 10th.
Visit the Western Reserve Historical Society website for additional information, prices and hours or call (216) 721-5722.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and should not be missed. Aside from the fashion and elegance in the exhibit, it is also a piece of history that really should be seen.
It is done with style and grace - words that many would use to describe Princess Diana herself.
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