opened 29 September 2007 – closed 18 May 2008
‘My sister was that unique phenomenon: a glamorous humanitarian.
She intrigued the world with her blend of intoxicating sophistication and her
sincere common touch … We are delighted that the exhibition that my family
has put together at Althorp should be travelling abroad now, to reach people
who may not have a chance to visit Althorp for themselves.’
Charles, Earl Spencer
The exhibition is divided into nine sections:
This introductory display pays tribute to the ‘People’s Princess’ with a stunning
photographic portrait by Patrick Demarchelier and, the ultimate symbol of a
princess, a tiara.
The Spencer Women
The Spencer family is one of Britain’s great aristocratic dynasties. The Spencer
Earls enjoyed great wealth and political power. This section is dedicated to the
Spencer women who were born or married into the family.
The Honorable Diana Frances Spencer was born on 1 July 1961. This section
includes many of Diana’s treasured personal possessions from her childhood,
such as photo albums, dance shoes, toys, letters and drawings. Rare home
movies shot by Diana’s father are a highlight of this section.
Diana Frances Spencer and Prince Charles of Wales formally announced their
engagement on 24 February 1981. The shy, young Diana immediately captured
the attention of people around the world. Four official engagement portraits are
featured in this section.
The Royal Wedding
On 29 July 1981, Lady Diana Spencer married HRH Prince of Wales at St Paul’s
Cathedral. It is estimated that over 1 billion people worldwide watched the
wedding on television. The highlight of this section is Diana’s wedding gown
and its dramatic 7.5-metre train.
Diana was a tireless charity worker using her celebrity status to campaign for
the causes she believed in, from HIV/AIDS to the welfare of children and the
eradication of landmines. This section includes letters and speeches by Diana
in support of various causes.
Diana died on 31 August 1997. Her tragic death prompted a spontaneous
outpouring of grief from people all around the world. The draft of Earl
Spencer’s moving tribute to Diana is included in this section along with
the lyrics and musical score for Elton John’s Candle in the wind.
This section of the exhibition features a wall of condolence books from all
over the world.
Style and Fashion
Diana loved clothes; they were a passion and a public duty. The final section
of the exhibition traces the evolution of Diana’s personal style from the early
1980s to her last public engagement, through a selection of 28 outfits by
leading British and international designers including Versace, Valentino,
Lacroix, Chanel, Catherine Walker and Bruce Oldfield.
No Photography of any kind is allowed in the exhibition.