There have been dozens of Diana, Princess of Wales exhibits across the world. Some, take a look at her life just through photographs, and others, tell her story through fashion. When in Las Vegas, I had the chance to go to the Princess Diana & The Royals: The Exhibition. I have been to several Diana-related exhibits throughout my life, and I’d say this is one of my favourites.
The exhibit is located at the The Shops at Crystals on the 3rd floor. For further reference, it’s connected to the Aria Resort, just a few blocks down from the Bellagio. Immediately, you walk into the beginning of Diana’s life, when she was a young girl growing up in Norfolk.
While other exhibits I’ve been to focus solely on Diana’s early years, this one was different. There were a number of timelines on the wall going in-depth about her family tree and her ancestors. There are then a number of Diana’s childhood mementoes in display cases, including her copy of Grey Rabbit and the Wandering Hedgehog.
After a look at her early years, it’s the whirlwind journey that led Diana to marry the world’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Charles. What I enjoyed about this section of the exhibit, is there were several newspapers showcasing all the headlines and buzz in the 1980s around their courtship and engagement. As someone who is a journalist and was born in the U.S. in the late 90s, it’s incredibly interesting to me to see these old papers. Let alone, it is also fun to see all the other stories and ads that made headlines back then.
The next room is all about the fairytale that was on 29 July 1981: the wedding of Diana and Charles at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The ceremony was watched across the globe by millions. While Diana’s actual wedding dress hasn’t been on public display in years, there is a unique alternative – a paper replica of her famous David and Elizabeth Emanuel ivory silk taffeta and antique lace gown. I especially enjoyed the glass that allowed you to walk over the train of the dress. Getting a real, in-depth look at all of the details. There were also paper replicas of the flower girl and page boy outfits on display amid other royal wedding memorabilia, both Diana’s wedding and other royal brides.
Next, it was about Diana’s life as a mum, showing photos of special moments between both Princes William and Harry. This room also showcased the evolution of Diana and the boys on People Magazine covers. After all, she was the “People’s Princess.” Pictured are just some of the many magazine covers throughout the years. I have copies of many of these at home.
After that, there were a couple of displays looking into some of England and Europe’s past monarchs and Charles’s engagement to Camilla.
Then, I was in the room that I dreaded and a topic that breaks my heart, Diana’s death. Many will remember the thousands of flowers put out for her at Kensington Palace, just one of the many places with floral tributes. A display mimics the scene at Buckingham Palace, and the room is filled with the scent of dozens of bouquets. While this room reminds us of those dark days, it was a very neat feature. A time one wishes never happened, but it is also a unique perspective into those dark days across the world. Days, when I was just a little over a year old.
I do admire that the exhibit organisers didn’t focus so much on the accident that killed Diana. Rather, it was the press and the tributes that were focused on. There were lists of the hundreds of guests at her funeral, different tributes, and a local newspaper display. There were virtual kiosks where you could select your local newspaper and see the headlines from the day of the funeral. Again, a unique aspect I haven’t seen at other royal exhibits.
While it is not easy to transition from such a heavy topic, the next couple of rooms lightened my mood as it was all about fashion! Several of Diana’s dresses were on display: real ones, not paper. I highly this enjoyed as I can associate the outfits with the different events they were worn at. It’s also a joy to get to see those details up close.
The next room was probably my favourite, which contained miniature versions of about 70 of Diana’s dresses. This was so fun to look at, and the dresses were roughly Barbie size. Again, this was a chance to think back to the hundreds of photos I’ve seen with these iconic outfits. There were also some that I’d never seen before.
Before you left the exhibit, the last couple of rooms focused on the future of the royal family and Diana’s sons. There was memorabilia from both Harry and William’s wedding. Some of it I even had from when I was at Harry’s wedding, or from my many eBay endeavours.
The last couple of display items lit up my eyes and face; there were some of Kate’s dresses, the real ones! One of these happens to be one of my favourite looks of hers – the Jenny Packham sparkle gown worn in 2011 during her first royal engagement after her April wedding to William. She would then wear it again in 2016 to London’s EACH (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices) gala. To make it even more special, these dresses weren’t in display cases. So you could really get a close-up look at all the sparkle and details. Personally, I couldn’t look away.
In 2022, I attended the Princess Diana: Accredited Access Exhibition. This was unique in that it told the story of Diana’s life through photographers and those who spent many days photographing Diana. Between the two, I’d say this one in Las Vegas takes the cake.
Although, when I studied abroad in London in the summer of 2018, Diana: Her Fashion Story at Kensington Palace was by far my favourite. In 2012, I did attend the Diana, A Celebration Exhibition at Mall of America in Minnesota. While I don’t remember much, I do remember seeing her wedding dress and a replica of her wedding cake. I appreciate that these exhibitions unintentionally share similarities but also unique differences.
The Princess Diana exhibit in Las Vegas is set to run indefinitely. More information can be found, here.