From the time I was little, Princess Diana was always in my life. My mom was a hardcore fan, even getting the famed Diana highlights and dressing exactly like her. We were actually in Maine when we heard news of her passing; I, being only two at the time, cannot remember this, but my mom told me that she actually pulled to the side of the road to collect herself, the news was so shocking. She had seen her about a year before she had died, at Neimen Marcus in Washington, D.C. She told me her first thought was, "She can't be dead! I saw her shopping!" I, too, have had a similar experience. About six years, ago I saw Amy Winehouse in the Baltimore Airport. When I heard news of her death, I said the same thing; "She can't be dead! I saw her at the newsstand next to my gate!"
But, I digress.
Diana was three things: beautiful, humble and irreplaceable. Although I wasn't alive for much of her life, I still am awed by all she did for the world. She broke the stigma of those suffering from HIV, when it was running rampant around the world. She gave her love to those who had never received it, and her time to those who were often passed up. She was the people's princess: extremely accessible and wonderfully endearing.
Today, to divert ourselves, my Mom and I, along were her friend, Maureen, and her lovely daughter, Colleen, drove down to the Cincinnati Museum Center to see the exhibit Diana, A Celebration. Ironically, my Mom and Maureen actually bonded over the royal family over thirty years ago, when Fergie (NOT the one from the Black Eyed Peas) was getting married. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed. However, I will shared some of the better bits with you!
First off, you begin with seeing things from her ancestry. This includes a room devoted to the Spencer women that came before her that showcases their beauty and wealth. One of her ancestors had a monogrammed bracelet, by the way. Yet, while ours are only silver or gold, hers was basically a solid chain of diamonds. Oh well. When I finally become queen of my own country, I can get one, too. Something to look forward to! Jokes. Afterward, you go through a rather large hall filled with hundreds of things from her childhood: journals, a doll house, even her report cards. The one thing that really grabbed my attention was something that most might passover: a letter she wrote to her parents when she was a little girl. She sent it home from her boarding school, simply stating that the power had gone out one night during a storm, and she went to bed by candle light. It was just crazy to think that the little girl who wrote that ended up becoming one of the biggest icons of all time.
What most people come to see, though, are the fashion halls. One room is solely devoted to her wedding gown, with its famous train. Another is filled with some of her most famous dresses, and also a nod to her philanthropic side, displaying the outfit she wore when at the land mines. Although you can't actually see her wearing them, you definitely get the idea that she was a goddess come to life. She had broad shoulders, no doubt due to her height (5'10"; we are both members of the tall girls club!), one of the tiniest waists in the world, and loooong legs. In a word, damn.
The rest of the exhibit highlighted her philanthropy and legacy, with Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" playing softly and emotionally in the background. Side note- the ACTUAL original copy of Candle in the Wind is on display, including Elton John's notes and scribbles. The man has nice hand writing.
This particular exhibit included a mini-exhibit: Daughters of the Queen City. Essentially, it highlights the accomplishments of the women of Cincinnati, which will make any female's chest swell with pride when you see how badass these women were. Just saying, isn't it interesting that Princess Diana's tour would come to an end in the Queen City? I see what you did there.
The Daughters of the Queen City mini-exhibit also included a room where you could make your own royal crest. Although it was meant for preteens, I of course had to partake. My work of art is below. Please, do feel free to applaud or make an offer.
But in all honesty, if you are at all interested in the royal family, make the trip down to Cincinnati. This exhibit is open all summer, with the last day being August 17th. Tickets are only $24. This will be the LAST time this exhibit will ever be seen--after its last day in August, it will finally return home to England to the royal archives. If you don't live in the Cincinnati area or can't make it out, you can buy the memorabilia from the exhibit online, which includes books, tea cups, and even shot glasses (nice touch). But remember, THIS IS IT. Once they are gone, they are gone. One of the museum employees even informed me that some of the things have already sold out online, so hurry!
So, have you gals seen this exhibit? If so, what were your thoughts? I must say, I got a little misty when I heard Candle in the Wind. No judgement zone.
I have provided a YouTube video below for those who aren't able to go, or for those who want a taste before they get to see the real thing. The fashion halls are in the beginning of the video; be prepared to have your jaw drop. Also, the book that I have pictured above the beginning of the article contains pictures of the entire exhibit, including the famed dresses. Be sure to look for it online if you can't see it in person!
Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.