Princess Diana: Is she really worth all the hype?

Princess Diana Exhibit Sign

Sydney, Australia’s Powerhouse Museum and the dainty Princess of Wales don’t really seem to fit together.  But then again, they really do.  Up until early May 2008, the city of Sydney, is hosting a special exhibit dedicated to the late Princess Diana, one of the most influential and powerful women the world has ever known.  So, in that sense, the Powerhouse Museum and the adored Princess are a perfect pairing.

I, as a fan of Diana, could have gone back through the exhibit again and again, but time was short, so an hour was all I could budget.  Here are the hi-lights.

In life, Diana didn’t have any real legal power, but the powerful spell she cast over the average person resulted in her wedding, to HRH Prince Charles, being viewed by over 1 billion people.

Sydney, Australia has seen fit to honour Princess Diana, with a magnificent exhibit catering to all facets of Diana Spencer’s life, from her beginnings as a tiny winsome child to her full-blown persona as the superstar celebrity she came to be.

Even if you were never a fan of the late Princess (my husband attended with me and he is definitively NOT a fan, but he enjoyed the exhibit) you will surely enjoy the scope of the exhibit.  Diana’s family (the Althorp Estate), who sanctioned the display, has provided an in-depth glimpse into the shy little girl who would go from being a mother’s helper to royal princess.
Princess Diana sign at Powerhouse Museum

What to expect in the Diana exhibit:

“Diana: A Celebration” is located on the Powerhouse museum’s second floor.  Admission fees are $20/adult which includes entry to the Diana exhibit.

“Australians Meet Diana” is a parallel exhibit with detailed accounts from Australians who met Diana during one of her official visits Down Under.

You must budget at least one hour for the exhibit; 2 hours would be better if you are a big fan of the late princess.

Other visitor tips and hints:

  • Photography inside the exhibit is absolutely NOT allowed.  But you can take a picture of the sign just outside of the exhibit.
  • Exhibit begins with a glassed display of Diana’s famous tiara, the one shown in this photo.Princess Diana Phograph
  • Visitors are introduced to Diana through a series of memorabilia including photographs and charming items like Diana’s letter (written as a little girl) to “Mummy and Daddy.”
  • Diana’s school years are covered and include actual report cards.
  • Old family films shot by Diana’s father, Edward Spencer are a must-see.  The films are remarkably good quality, and very captivating.  Many people sat on the carpeted floor to watch the looped film clips.
  • Exhibit includes Diana’s courtship and engagement to Prince Charles, her world famous wedding, and finally, her death.
  • A large area is dedicated to Diana’s death; including a fenced-off floor area strewn with English rose petals.
  • Diana’s funeral program and paper copies of speeches (complete with penciled edits) made during her funeral are displayed.
  • An entire room has been set aside for the condolence books the Althorp family received following Princess Diana’s funeral and memorial services.
  • Exhibit includes a fashion display of Diana’s most famous outfits, including her wedding dress, and some of her jewellery.
  • The Princess Diana exhibit’s gift shop is definitely worth a stop.  All items are sanctioned by the Althorp family, and all are very pricey.  But the items are ultimately collectible.  Fans can also shop online at http://www.dianacelebration.com/.
  • More Diana souvenir items are available in the PH museum’s regular gift shop, but they are a little kitschy.
  • If you are lucky enough to get a brochure from the PH museum detailing the Diana exhibit, then grab one.  They are snapped up as soon as they become available.  There wasn’t a single one anywhere in the museum in mid January.
  • Take a train and light rail to get to the Powerhouse Museum, ride a double-decker tour bus, or take a taxi (they are all reasonably priced).
  • The Powerhouse Museum is open 7 days a week, 10 AM to 5 PM (except for Christmas Day).
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    Cheers,
    Sheree Zielke

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