I certainly haven’t minimized my interest in the British monarchy. I have had plenty to say about my admiration of Queen Elizabeth! And with the Diamond Jubilee I had the opportunity to share about my collection of royal memorabilia, but I have said next to nothing about Princess Diana, even though I have many lovely collectibles that commemorate her life as well. I have very little to say about someone who flared so brightly and then died so young and under such tragic public circumstances. It’s simply very sad.
One thing that is indeed worthy of remembering about Diana, however, is her dedication to supporting charities and lending her name to raising money on behalf of hundreds of worthy causes. She most certainly left behind a legacy of philanthropy that continues through the Memorial Fund established in her name.
Aimee and I spent Sunday aboard the historic RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, enjoying the premiere of a new world-class exhibit entitled Diana: Legacy of a Princess. The exhibit is a 9,000 square foot gallery showcasing a priceless collection of her gowns and other memorabilia. The dresses, many of which are iconic and completely memorable–I’m not into fashion but I remembered them well–come from the personal collection of Pink Ribbons Crusade co-founder Suzanne King.
Ms. King has collected Diana’s dresses at auction for more than 20 years. After Diana’s death she chose to use the dresses as centerpiece to fundraising events, primarily calling attention to the Pink Ribbons Crusade, a nonprofit organization that supports breast cancer awareness. Proceeds from this particular exhibit will benefit City of Hope, a Southern California Cancer research hospital.
The exhibit will be open for at least a year and is well worth noting. We were told that the exhibit space, large as it is, couldn’t contain all the artifacts that are part of this generous collection. Over the year other major items will be featured, including the Princess’s wedding dress.
There is more to see than items of clothing. The exhibit, featuring more than 2,000 items, also includes historical artifacts, personal items as well as letters and archival documents across multiple generations of Royals. These include King George V and Queen Mary; the Duke and Duchess of Windsor; The Queen Mother; and of course, Queen Elizabeth and her long reign. For history buffs this is quite an exhibit. Many historical documents have been made available by the Royal Family, including Diana’s children.
I think one of the thoughts that has stayed with me is how Diana devoted a high percentage of her young life compassionately supporting others and raising the fundraising profile of hundreds of charitable institutions. Her family has chosen to keep that legacy alive through the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, an independent grant-giving charity, “dedicated to securing sustainable improvements in the lives of the most disadvantaged people in the UK and around the world.” Then Suzanne King, an American from Texas, is also honoring the philanthropic legacy of the Princess she admired, using her personal collection to further raise donations for a cause Princess Diana also cared about. What an exceptional collaboration!
I’m sure you’re not surprised that I was unable to take any photos inside the exhibit, but I did snap a few of the wonderful Queen Mary. The RMS Queen Mary began her launch in Scotland’s River Clyde destination New York City in 1936, and made final port-of-call in 1967, becoming a permanent sight in Long Beach harbor. I didn’t even have my best camera lens with me, but I snapped a few to share, and have every intention of visiting the exhibit again before it moves on. I’ll be better prepared next time.
The exhibit just opened and will be here for a year. Long Beach is a lovely Southern California destination. Feel like traveling? Maybe the slideshow will give you just a glimpse! Enjoy!
- ‘Diana: Legacy Of A Princess’ Exhibit Coming To Queen Mary (losangeles.cbslocal.com)
- Gallery: Princess Diana’s Tiaras & Taffeta On Display Aboard Queen Mary (laist.com)