October 20, 2014 -- Updated 4:10 pm GMT

Kensington Palace Becomes Enchanted Palace

Posted in: United Kingdom

Kensington palace, the former home of Princess Diana, has been transformed into an interactive exhibit displaying various points in British history. It is meant to draw tourists’ attention away from London’s other attractions, such as the Tower, and showcase a new way to learn about the lives of past royals who resided in the palace.

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AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

The exhibit, which opened Friday, uses intense lighting, actors and musicians to set the mood. There’s even a man making sounds from a saw with a violin bow.

“We really wanted to try something completely different that gave us a way to take a fresh look at the palace’s history and the lives of the people who lived here,” said Alexandra Kim, one of the curators of the two-year show. “We want people to connect with the emotions.”

In the Room of Royal Sorrows, a mannequin dressed in blue has her face hidden and is elevated above the bed. It is supposed to represent Queen Mary II and her agony over being unable to produce any heirs.

“The first time you walk into the room, it has an aura of sadness, but also incredible beauty,” said designer Marcus Wilmont, part of the team that decorated the room and came up with the outfit worn by the mannequin representing Queen Mary. “She tried really hard, but she had many miscarriages. She was a very loved queen, and we wanted to try to capture her spirit.”

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AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

But the entire exhibit is not a complete downer. There are displays showing typical royal life, such as monarchs meeting with foreign diplomats and advisers. There’s a throne made especially for this part, where the public is encouraged to sit on.

Furthermore, there is the Rooms of Lost Childhood, which is meant to give the tourist the impression of how lonely and isolated royal life can be growing up.

Some Britain’s most famous fashion designers, such as Vivienne Westwood, took part in this project. Also taking part was the fashion house, Boudicca, and emerging designer William Tempest, who designed a dress to represent when a young princess woke up to be notified she had become Queen Victoria.

Also on display are dresses worn by Princess Diana and Princess Margaret during state occasions.

The Enchanted Palace is going to run until January of 2012.

To learn more about the exhibit, click here

Sheikha Mozah Praises Saudi King in Interview

Posted in: Qatar, Saudi Arabia

As she concluded her historic three day visit to Saudi Arabia, Qatar’s Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned had nothing but kind words for King Abdullah for his leadership and vision for the Persian Gulf region.

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REUTERS/Stringer

Speaking in an interview published in the Qatari newspaper Al Sharq and the Saudi daily Al Riyadh, Mozah said she was impressed by the Saudi Arabian King’s great knowledge of education and science. This is something the Sheikha cares very much for as she is Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.

“On many visits and in many meetings with world leaders I found no person or leader that had the same, real, genuine enthusiasm to develop education and scientific research and to develop Gulf societies, not only Saudi Arabia,” she said.

Sheikha Mozah also pointed out that health and education projects and scientific research in Qatar were not impacted by the recent global financial crisis. That was because her husband, Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, set aside funds for those projects. “We ought to learn a lesson from the financial crisis and we have to focus on our economies and investments.”

“Today we are talking about a global citizen, and in order to be a global citizen one should have all the mechanisms that enable him to react vigorously, to impact and be impacted by others. Hence we focused on a change and on reforming education.”

Mozah also spoke of how women in the Arabian peninsula need the recognition they deserve for the work that they do.

“We in Qatar work to highlight the historical and influential role of woman in the Arab Peninsula before and after Islam’s arrival. This role is unknown in Arab and western world and neglected by Arab public opinion, mass media, and intellectuals,” she said.

“If we were able to develop the family in the GCC, the role of woman, I reckon would automatically change and so would the role of the Gulf citizen in general.”

Sheikha Mozah arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. She was given tours of several universities in hopes of establishing relations between Saudi institutions and Qatari institutions.