Monday, May 17, 2010

London Spring Top Ten List: Enchanted Palace

Let’s preface this by saying, “No, Princess Diana’s dresses are no longer on display at Kensington Palace.”

If I heard this question once, I heard it 5-7 times during my recent tour of Kensington Palace’s Exhibit entitled Enchanted Palace. I realize it is a bummer for those people who have come a long way to visit London, but perhaps a little forward planning on their parts would have minimized their disappointment at the ticket counter. Truthfully, on the day I visited, I thought a mini revolt was going to place.


So, before I provide a quick summary of the current exhibit, which was a bit more avant-garde than was clearly expected by most attending, a few comments:

• Kensington Palace (for purposes of this post, now referred to as KP) no longer has the rights to Di’s dresses as they were either bought by an American (who after 2 years of loaning them to KP wants them back) or the others were sold in a charity auction. Before KP takes it on the chin, it is not their fault.

• KP has attempted to provide a totally different exhibit on the history of seven of the royal princesses who have lived in the palace – which was quite cleverly curated in my opinion.

• Hachie Gal gave it a thumbs-up!

Upon arrival, the gardens of KP never looked lovely…although it was a cloudy day:

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

The basic premise is that the through looking at the lives of these seven featured princesses (Mary, Anne, Caroline, Charlotte, Victoria, Margaret, and Diana), recurring themes emerge: Loves won and lost, tragedy, illness, and death were known to all, glamour abounded during their tenure at KP, and perhaps most interestingly, art, fashion, and theatre flourished.

The latter was evidenced by the Stephen Jones millinery (hats to us common folk) and the Vivienne Westwood original gown…


… as well as an interesting display of the very room in which Princess Victoria learned she would be queen.


As I left the palace, I found myself slightly more informed about these women and the main events of their lives that shaped Kensington Palace. If this has sparked your interest, check out the following link. Just remember, it is not your average exhibition.

So, 1 out of 10 top ten spring tourist items down; 9 to go.

1 comment:

Hachie Gal said...

Is it just me, but does the girl in the first photo look like a young Wynona Rider?