ST. PETERSBURG, FL.- Almost a decade after her tragic death, Princess Diana still evokes intrigue and stirs emotion. Now, the Florida International Museum in St. Petersburg is set to host the critically acclaimed exhibition -- "Diana, A Celebration" -- chronicling the life of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. On loan from the Spencer Family's 500-year-old ancestral home in Althorp and making its second stop in the U.S., the exhibition will open February 19, and remain on view through May 15, 2005.
The exhibition presents the life and humanitarian work of one of the most remarkable women of our time through 150 objects, ranging from her 1981 Royal Wedding Gown, 28 designer dresses and gowns, family heirlooms, personal mementoes, paintings, and rare home movies and photos. The exhibition tells the story of her public and private life in nine galleries: Tiara; The Spencer Women; Childhood; Engagement; Royal Wedding; Charity; Tribute; Style; and Condolence.
"Diana had a remarkable way of developing a bond with the public and enjoyed giving her time to others, and in this spirit, the exhibit allows us to continue sharing her life with those who saw in her someone special," said Charles Spencer, Diana's brother. "We hope people remember Diana for the dignified way in which she carried herself throughout her life, the positive influence she had on scores of people and the heartfelt consideration she
showed for others."
At the show's heart is the Royal Wedding Gallery, featuring Diana's resplendent gown from her 1981 marriage to Prince Charles, diamond tiara, veil and 25-foot train, shoes and parasol and bridesmaid's dress. Home movies filmed by her father and scenes from her childhood, her engagement to Prince Charles and the events leading up to the wedding are animated with video, personal possessions, photographs and personal correspondence. Another section is devoted to Diana's energetic and multi-faceted public life and involvement in myriad charities and causes.
Other highlights include: two diamond tiaras and other priceless family jewels; the original hand-edited text of Charles Spencer's moving tribute to his sister that he delivered at Diana's funeral in Westminster Abbey; family photo albums; and the musical score and handwritten lyrics of the Elton John/Bernie Taupin composition dedicated to Diana and adapted from "Candle in the Wind."
"Diana, A Celebration," produced by Ohio-based Arts & Exhibitions International LLC in association with the Althorp Estate, made its U.S. premiere at the Museum of Art/Fort Lauderdale last year. Since 1998, the Exhibition at Althorp has generated approximately $2 million for charities supported by the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. In St. Petersburg, 10% of the retail price of products sold at the Exhibition goes to projects supported b y the same fund.