Wander Minnesota: Diana: A Celebration

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BLOOMINGTON (WCCO) — What connection is there between Minnesota and Diana, Princess of Wales? Until recently, not a lot—I think she changed planes here once. Not much of a royal claim to fame.

dianaballet4 Wander Minnesota: Diana: A Celebration

But last week, an exhibit about her life at times called Diana: A Celebration opened at the Mall of America.

children with tiara Wander Minnesota: Diana: A Celebration

It’s a thoughtfully curated exhibit detailing a number of aspects of Diana’s life—the glamour, the famous royal wedding, the even more famous royal divorce, the fame, the charity work.

wedding train low res Wander Minnesota: Diana: A Celebration

The iconic items are all here: the wedding dress with its then-unheard-of 25-foot train, and the impeccably made shoes:

weddingshoes Wander Minnesota: Diana: A Celebration

But there are also smaller details of her life that are perhaps more telling; a family movie of Diana as a child, dancing across the yard and being downright silly; a collection of small toy animals she kept with her throughout her life; school papers and childhood photo albums.

candleinthewind Wander Minnesota: Diana: A Celebration

A scrawled draft of the Elton John-Bernie Taupin revision of “Candle in the Wind”, rewritten for Diana’s funeral. (Note: while the original is part of the estate, currently a facsimile is on display, as the original is undergoing archival work.)

One gallery is devoted to Diana’s work with charities and highlights her willingness to take risks—she was one of the first public figures to touch AIDS patients, and later took on causes involving leprosy and landmines.

style 2 low res Wander Minnesota: Diana: A Celebration

But she will be long remembered for her fashion sense, and the gallery that seemed to draw the most excitement when I visited was the display of some of her clothes, along with several photos of her wearing them. This gallery has samples from every stage of Diana’s royal life, with the pieces from the early 80s looking dated, while the later, more sophisticated pieces looking as if they could be worn today.

red dress low res Wander Minnesota: Diana: A Celebration

Do you have to have been a big Diana fan to appreciate this exhibit? The friend who attended the exhibit with me was not, but found herself intrigued and entertained with several items, notably the childhood pieces, and said the clothing gallery itself was worth the price of admission.

Me? I was a Diana fan. I thought it was worth every penny.

The exhibit will be open through June 10.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

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