Photo by Mario Testino
On Sunday, Brooke & I drove to Grand Rapids, Michigan to view the Diana: A Celebration exhibit. We knew it would be amazing but we didn't realize how honored we would feel just to witness it.
Viewing THE wedding dress, all 25 feet of it, was surreal. Our eyes darted back and forth from footage to the dress, not believing we were in its presence. It was truly a sight to behold. As you wind through the memento's of her childhood, thank you letters from charities and gallery of gowns, you can't help but be overcome with emotion at such a tragic loss. Suddenly, we were within the funeral portion and bawling like babies. What would she be passionate about today? Who would be her favored designers? Why was such a wonderful person taken so soon?
Reading portions of her diary, listening to snippets from friends, family and favorite designers, you realize how incredibly humble and kind she truly was. A few things I enjoyed learning:
- The wedding gown - with the longest train in royal wedding history, 25 feet - and bridesmaids dresses cost $1,900. The designers, Elizabeth and David Emanuel, left false trails to throw off the snooping media including faux sketches and colored threads.
- She was thoughtful in her wardrobe selection depending on the situation. For visits with children, she wore bright colors with larger adornments or jewelry to keep their attention. For babies, she wore a long chain to entertain them. Her designers were also creative with the functions of garments, such as adding weights into hemlines to keep them from blowing in the wind.
- At one time, Diana worked with over 100 charities and organizations. A letter expressing her decline of benefit offers was so moving and heartfelt, you felt her pain at the desire to help without the proper time to do so.
- Being a handwritten note enthusiast myself, one of the highlights for me was a letter she sent to a benefit director expressing disappointment in herself for not being in 'top form' at a recent function. She mentioned her exhausting travels - it was not uncommon for her to travel over 150 days per year - and apologized for seeming 'off'. I am curious to know if anyone other than herself actually noticed that day and was so struck by her thoughtfulness to reach out in that way.
If you'd like to learn a bit more and experience what we were privileged to view in person take a peek at this video coverage from the Today show.
Post exhibit, I'm inspired by love and understanding. Her dedication to charity work and helping others in addition to her personal persona provide an excellent example of grace and class. Though tomorrow is the final day at the Grand Rapids Art Museum it will move to Kansas City until June. I absolutely recommend it, our 6 hour road trip was worth every mile. It is a moving and emotional experience you will never forget.