London’s Kensington Palace gets moody makeover

Diana's gown

LONDON – Princess Diana’s former home, Kensington Palace, was being rebranded “The Enchanted Palace” on Friday to lure tourists from other popular London sights, like Madame Tussauds waxworks and the Tower of London, where the Crown Jewels are displayed (behind very thick glass).

In this interactive age, it’s not enough for a stately palace to offer royal art, staid banquet rooms, and roped-off thrones, so curators have opted for fashion, performance art, and a bit of Alice in Wonderland fantasy. The exhibit, meant to draw viewers into the lives of past palace residents, uses intense lighting, actors and musicians to set the mood. One man even coaxes sound from a saw with a violin bow.

The tone is set by the Room of Royal Sorrows. No, it’s not about Diana and her fractured fairytale marriage to Prince Charles; it’s a dramatization of the emotional torment of Queen Mary II as she tried in vain a produce an heir. It is set in her bedchamber, giving the display an unsettling authenticity. On the bed is a figure of the queen, dressed in blue, face hidden.

“The first time you walk into the room, it has an aura of sadness, but also incredible beauty,” said designer Marcus Wilmont, part of the team that decorated the room and came up with the outfit worn by the mannequin representing Queen Mary. “She tried really hard, but she had many miscarriages. She was a very loved queen, and we wanted to try to capture her spirit.”

The somber tone is set by dozens of antique glass bottles known as “tear catchers.” In times of mourning, tears were put in the bottles “to catch the sorrow” even though they would soon evaporate, Wilmont said

Visitors are given a chance to leave a handwritten note stating the last time they cried.

Not every display is laced with tragedy. One of Diana’s elegant ball gowns is on display, and Vivienne Westwood, one of Britain’s most revered designers, came up with a fanciful — and fantastic — dress designed to be worn by a rebellious princess.

The room where British kings met with advisers, foreign diplomats and occasionally the public has also been redone, with a colorful new throne that visitors are encouraged to try out. A Room of Enlightenment features a bust of Isaac Newton topped by a Stephen Jones hat that includes a mock red apple, covered with rhinestones, to commemorate Newton’s moment of illumination.

The exhibit also includes The Room of Royal Secrets and the Rooms of Lost Childhood, all to evoke the bittersweet nature of real royal life as lived, not imagined. Many royals are portrayed as lonely and isolated despite the magnificent sweeping views of Kensington Gardens and the multimillion dollar art collection that lines the interior palace walls.

“We really wanted to try something completely different that gave us a way to take a fresh look at the palace’s history and the lives of the people who lived here,” said Alexandra Kim, one of the curators of the two-year show. “We want people to connect with the emotions.”


Diana A Celebration In Hungary

I just heard from my friend Jody Who attended the Diana a  Celebration   in Hungary. She sent me some photos from her trip . The neat thing was that they had Diana Posters around poles outside leading the way to the exhibit. Here are some of her photos she sent to me.  There were not any free flyers or newspapers  which is a shame.  Because of where the dresses were display no photos were able to to be taken.  Jody did get some photos of the entrance of the musuem. Thanks Jody for sending these photos and I am so proud of you for stepping on that plane I know it took all you had to prepare for that flight!


DIANA–The People’s Princess” exhibit Goes to Downtown Disney Orlando


It has just been announced that the People’s Princess Charitable Foundation, Inc. (PPCF) is bringing “DIANA–The People’s Princess” – a major new exhibit of royal artifacts – to Walt Disney World Resort. Opening in early July 2009, this limited-time experience showcases the life and story of Princess Diana, one of the most iconic and inspirational figures in recent history, including a sampling of the royal dresses Diana chose to auction for charity and hundreds of authentic artifacts relating to her life.

“DIANA–The People’s Princess” exhibit will be held in the 17,500-square-foot setting at Downtown Disney West Side adjacent to DisneyQuest that formerly housed the giant record store. This unique exhibition is one of the largest collections of royal dresses and rare artifacts ever assembled for an American audience which provides an in-depth historical perspective of her life. The exhibit includes five rarely seen royal dresses worn by Princess Diana.

Tickets may be purchased at the exhibit – $14.50 (ages 10 and above), $5 (ages 3-9). The exhibition will run through Nov. 30, 2009. Hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily

Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs


 When: October 26, 2008–March 1, 2009 | Hammer Building

Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913–2008 is the first major exhibition to bring together the magazine’s historic archive of rare vintage prints with its contemporary photographs. The exhibition explores the ways in which photography and celebrity have interacted and changed, with portraits from the magazine’s early period (1913–1936) displayed in conjunction with works from the contemporary Vanity Fair (1983–present). The Los Angeles presentation, which is sponsored by Burberry, will be the only U.S. stop on the exhibition’s international tour. Photographers to be represented include Cecil Beaton, Harry Benson, Julian Broad, Imogen Cunningham, Annie Leibovitz, Man Ray, Mary Ellen Mark, Steven Meisel, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Edward Steichen, Mario Testino, and Bruce Weber.

Curators: Terence Pepper, curator of photographs, National Portrait Gallery, and David Friend, editor of creative development, Vanity Fair. Curator at LACMA: Charlotte Cotton, photography.

A collaboration between Vanity Fair and the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Nebraska Wesleyan University: First College in the World To Perform Musical About Princess Diana

Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln NE is the first College to produce ‘Princess Diana, the Musical’. It features 32 original songs by Karen Sokolof Javitch; has a cast of 32 players. The drama chronicles her life from shy young woman to the charming, compassionate Princess loved world-wide.

 She is missed today as much as ever, because she gave so much to so many people. I wanted to capture her essence – her heart. But an added bonus is bringing her to life for a generation of students who were very young when she died. That’s why this musical is so good for schools. Princess Diana is someone they can all look up to, especially the girls.

Lincoln, Neb.  May 31, 2009 — They didn’t know a lot about the Princess of Wales when they started, but now these 24 college students are well-versed in the life of Princess Diana and her failed marriage to Prince Charles. Why? They are rehearsing the original show, ‘Princess Diana the Musical’, by Omaha playwrights Karen Sokolof Javitch and Elaine Jabenis. This is the world-wide debut of a University production. Many students say they were just mesmerized by the music and wanted to be part of this historic story!
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The 32 songs chronicle Diana’s life from her courtship with Prince Charles through their marriage and divorce. Ms. Javitch wrote the songs as she was grieving for the princess. “She is missed today as much as ever, because she gave so much to so many people. I wanted to capture her essence – her heart. But an added bonus is bringing her to life for a generation of students who were very young when she died. That’s why this musical is so good for schools. Princess Diana is someone they can all look up to, especially the girls.”

Many scenarios familiar to Diana admirers will be portrayed in the musical including Charles and Diana’s romance, wedding, and the ongoing Camilla conflict. Other key characters include Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, Prince Philip and Fergie, her sister-in-law. The songs express humor, adoration, jealousy, love and more while telling the story of Princess Diana’s desperation to love and be loved.

Chuck Penington of the Grammy-award winning group, Mannheim Steamroller, arranged the music for Princess Diana, the Musical and is performing with his band.

Nebraska Wesleyan University will put on 8 shows in Lincoln and Omaha. Jack Parkhurst, the director, says that the musical is also perfect for community theatres and high schools to produce. For information about ‘Princess Diana the Musical’, call 402-393-3893 or visit our website

Diana a Celebration: Budapest Hungary


Diana A Celebration In Budapest has been extended to May 31St! Although I have seen this event I am very excited to announce that a close friend of mine who has never flown on a plane will be making a  a trip to Hungary and she will be able to squeeze this event in to her trip. This will also be her first Diana event she has ever attended.  She will be bringing back some great information on  her point of view on this event.