Exhibit celebrates Princess Diana's legacy

BY: DANIEL GOLDSBARY & TERESA ARIAS

Royalty has taken up residence in Long Beach, and in what better place than the Queen Mary. An exhibit of Princess Diana’s private and public life, “Diana: Legacy of a Princess,” is on display aboard the ship and takes on a special importance during Breast Cancer Awareness month.

The Pink Ribbons Crusade, the organization behind the collection, is a charity that donates profits made from the exhibit to the surrounding community. Steve Sheldon, the director of entertainment events for the Queen Mary, said he discovered the exhibit online and immediately contacted Pink Ribbons Crusade to bring it to the Queen Mary.

“[The exhibit] is a unique opportunity… to tie in the history of the members of the royal family that had traveled on The Queen Mary,” Sheldon said.  “It is something that really has a natural tie and connection with our roots and our history.”

Husband and wife team Jess King and Suzanne King from Austin, Texas founded Pink Ribbons Crusade in 2000. According to dianadresses.org, it was created to raise money for breast cancer.  After receiving eight of Princess Diana’s dresses from her husband as presents, Suzanne had the idea of putting them on display in order to raise even more money for the cause.

The exhibit can be found on The Queen Mary’s sun deck, and spans 13,000 square feet of the ship. Among the collection, there are dresses that may have never been seen by the public before. Dresses designed by the Princess’ favorite designer and good friend, Catherine Walker, are also on display. Sketches of dresses worn by the Princess that are signed by the designers are featured as well.

In addition to the dresses, there are letters and notes handwritten by Princess Diana and Prince Charles.  There are photographs of the royal family and a hand-carved wooden bench that Prince Charles gave Diana as one of their wedding gifts.

In a separate area of the exhibit, there are items from the British Royal Family, all who have been aboard The Queen Mary. A replica of Kate Middleton’s dress, which she wore when her engagement to Prince William was announced, is also on display.

The exhibit will remain open to the public until June 2013 and will then move on to another location. Tickets are available online at tickets.queenmary.com.