Enchanted Palace: A tale of seven princesses
Friday 26 March 2010
Kensington Palace became the focus of the nation’s mourning in 1997 after the death of Princess Diana, its gilded gates and surrounding gardens flooded with floral tributes. Today the palace has opened its doors in celebration of its history and the seven princesses who have lived there.
The exhibition, called the Enchanted Palace, is so peculiar it is as if you've stepped into Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland.' It is a mixture of gothic fashion, art and live performance, telling the not-so-fairytale stories of Mary II, Anne, Caroline, Charlotte, Victoria, Margaret and Diana.
Combining designs by Vivienne Westwood and hats by Stephen Jones; tall trees growing inside the walls; disembodied voices; surprising light and sound installations; and storytellers from Wildworks acting group, the multi-sensory display is a truly surreal experience.
Visitors aren’t told which room relates to which princess but the objects, clothes and clues soon make it clear. From the tall, plumped-up mattresses and oversized toys in Victoria’s room to the suffering prostrate figure in the Room of Royal Sorrows which tells of Mary II’s death from smallpox.
Wildworks producer Bill Mitchell said: “We have found the stories of the palace incredibly inspiring, they’re like true fairytales. Like the rebellious princess who was so universally loved that when she died in childbirth London ran out of black mourning fabric.”
Other tales include the feral boy kept as a pet; the young princess who wept for three days when she was told she had to marry a man twice her age; and the friends who quarrelled and thereby changed the fortunes of two great families and the map of Europe.
The exhibition opens today and runs until January 2010. www.hrp.org.uk/kensingtonpalace
TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies
Eurovision 2015Australian Idol winner unveiled as representative Down Under
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 GamerGate: developer Tim Schafer provokes rage with joke about online gaming activists at industry awards
Fifty Shades of Grey banned by Indian censors despite sex scenes being edited out
The 9 rules every Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon had to follow are wonderfully pedantic
Toy Story 4: Pixar promises a romcom storyline 'separate' from the much-loved trilogy
India's Daughter: BBC Four documentary provokes outrage on Twitter
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'