Wednesday, December 19, 2012

When I was 17, I believed in fairy tales.  After all, if a kindergarten teacher could marry a prince, then fairy tales must be true.  I think most of the women I know now had a fascination with Diana.  


We believed in happily ever after and watched with stars in our eyes as Diana exited her carriage in her beautiful princess dress, walked down the aisle and pledged her love to Charles. (We also set our alarm clocks so that we could watch the wedding live.)  


Most of us felt horribly betrayed when, years later, it was revealed that Charles' true love was Camilla and he'd been having an affair with her throughout most of their marriage.  We cheered when Diana made her public appearance after the divorce in the "little black dress", showing Charles exactly what he'd lost.  

And we listened in horror as we awoke on that Sunday morning to the news of her car accident and death in August of 1997.  This time, we watched with tears in our eyes as her funeral was televised all over the world.  (We watched from an airport in Dallas, Texas on the way to Hawaii.)

This past Sunday, I took a break from my retail frenzied world, and went with a friend to the Frazier Museum and viewed the Diana: A Celebration exhibit.  It was a wonderfully touching tribute to a woman who was so much a part of my memories.  

I loved viewing parts of her childhood and since she was only a few years older than me, we shared some interests (although I never had a real live camel at one of my birthday parties.)
The exhibit contains many photos and mementos but two were my favorites.

First: the Wedding Dress, veil, shoes and parasol

Did you know that  Graeme Murton and Nick Grossmark are the only two individuals in the world  permitted to touch Diana’s nearly two-pound silk, ivory wedding gown?
Or...

  •  The entire wedding gown is hand-embroidered with more that 10,000 tiny mother-of-pearl sequins and pearls.
  • The 25 foot silk train is the longest in royal history.
  • The dress was made of six different fabrics including 25 yards of silk taffeta, 100 yards or tulle crinoline and 150 yards of netting for the veil.
  • Diana observed tradition by wearing old antique lace, new silk specially spun at Lullington silk farm in Dorset, a borrowed tiara from the Spencer family collection, and a small blue bow sewn into the waistband of her dress for good luck.
  • Diana’s low-heeled slippers were made of ivory silk, top-stiched with pearls and sequins, with suede soles etched in gold.
My Second favorite thing was the Prayer Book that Mother Theresa gave to Princess Diana.
Imagine my surprise (and delight) to discover that it was a copy of the Daily Light.  Since I've used a copy of this for years, I felt an additional kinship to both Diana and Mother Theresa.  (After all we had in common, I'm sure she wouldn't mind me calling her by her first name.)

As we left the exhibit, my friend and I discussed all of the ways Diana's life had changed the world around her.  She not only changed the way we viewed AIDS patients, she reminded us of our responsibility to care for those less fortunate than us and to fight the injustices of the world.  She changed the way royal children were raised (no nannies) and I think William and Harry are better people because of it.  

I guess the most important lesson of all is that while life doesn't always have the "fairy tale" ending you envisioned, you can still make a difference.

 Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. It is a goal and an essential part of my life - a kind of destiny. Whoever is in distress can call on me. I will come running wherever they are.~
Princess Diana 

1 comment:

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