Arts & Life

Royalty splashes the Queen Mary

She was once a fashion icon and the world’s most photographed woman. Now, locals can get up close and personal with the legacy of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Diana: Legacy of a Princess exhibition, showcased aboard Long Beach’s famous landmark, the Queen Mary, has been revamped in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The extensive collection, curated by the Pink Ribbons Crusade, has never been displayed in its entirety until this event. The newly unveiled gallery features over 1,000 historical artifacts previously owned by Princess Diana and the royal family.

“The presentation of mementos from a life lived on the global stage by the woman of her time, is both historically significant and befitting of the Queen Mary and its legacy as a maritime and cultural icon,” Steve Sheldon, Director of Special Events, said in the press release for the event.

Before her untimely passing, Princess Diana was known as a supporter of various charitable endeavors, breast cancer being a cause she held in the highest regard during the last year of her life.

Pink Ribbons Crusade, a Texas-based charity, believes in continuing Princess Diana’s charitable lead. It uses its traveling exhibit to raise funds for breast cancer prevention and awareness. The items included in the exhibit have taken more than 30 years to assemble, according to the organization’s website.

Gowns worn by Princess Diana are among the most coveted pieces on display. Nineteen garments, created by notable designers such as Catherine Walker and Gianni Versace, are accompanied by descriptions and photographs from when they were worn.

Visitors will be surprised to learn that Princess Diana often wore her gowns on more than one occasion, unlike the fashion trendsetters of today. She wore a jeweled Catherine Walker design to three different events in the early 1990s. The dress is now owned by Pink Ribbons Crusade co-founder, Suzanne King.

Princess Diana’s hairdresser and close friend, Richard Dalton, made a special appearance on the exhibit’s opening night. Dalton spoke highly of his client during a question and answer session.

According to Dalton, Princess Diana had an incredible sense of humor and enjoyed raunchy jokes.

“There’s no one around these days like her,” Dalton said. “Just being in her presence was amazing.”

The exhibit also has an entire room dedicated to her two sons, Prince Harry and Prince William. There are several dresses recently worn by Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. The most identifiable dress featured is the blue Issa dress, worn during her engagement announcement in 2010.

Other featured keepsakes include: tiaras, furniture pieces, newspaper clippings, personal photos and hand-written letters. Guests can step inside a prop red telephone booth to listen to old voice messages recorded by Princess Diana.

Diana: Legacy of a Princess opened on Saturday and will remain open through January. A portion of the proceeds generated by the exhibit will go to Southern California charity Breast Cancer Angels. For ticket information, visit

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