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.
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.”
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