December 10, 2011

Keepin' It Regal - Mashantucket, Conn.

"Royal Tea," indeed.
Delicious sandwiches and sweets served
at Foxwoods Resort & Casino's Royal Tea,
part of "Diana: A Celebration."
Perhaps some of you can trace back your ancestry to an illustrious line of aristocrats – earls and duchesses, kings and queens, and the like. Much to my chagrin, it appears I am not one of these people.

Just the same, don’t let this stop you from getting up close and personal with the dazzling tiaras and brooches, royal wedding gown, and other amazing treasures that once belonged to the late Princess Di – all on display for you to ogle through the rest of this month and on into the new year.

Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., is currently featuring “Diana: A Celebration,” an exhibit open through Jan. 15 that offers a look at a breathtaking collection of personal items from Diana’s life – from photo albums, home movies, and school report cards from her childhood days spent at Althorp Estate in England to the awe-inspiring tiara, earrings, and gown (complete with its 25-foot train) that she wore on her wedding day.

Today's Stefcations Highlights:

It's not all about ogling, of course.

For one, there's the option to take things up a notch (as any princess would do, I imagine) and reserve your rightful place at the Royal Tea, an afternoon tea time package where you'll sip hot tea, nibble on an assortment of crustless cucumber, ham and cheese, and egg salad sandwiches, and enjoy all sorts of delicious cakes and scones. (The madeleines were especially tasty.)

The Honorable Lady Marisa,
who can vouch for the fabulous
madeleines as well.
Plus, there's plenty of history to take in - for instance, at the exhibit you'll see Diana's family tree, dating back to the 1300s; watch moving footage of her charity work with HIV/AIDS patients, landmine victims, and others; and read her correspondence with friends and colleagues.

Even Anglophiles like me will truly be surprised by how much there is to learn. And even if you tend to lack imagination, I'd be surprised if you didn't - at least on some level - feel moved by what you'll see.

Mini scone with Devonshire cream,
preserves, and whipped honey?
Why yes, I believe I shall.
The exhibit offers an unexpectedly intimate look at the work Diana did and the countless individuals she touched across the world in her brief 36 years. You'll see her personal letters - signed "With love from Diana," in gold ink, in her own script; her favorite stuffed animals, worn from wear; and the Tiffany-blue typewriter she used as a young schoolgirl.

Of course, you cannot go to an exhibit about Princess Di without assuming you'll see something about her tragic 1997 death. Ladies, you may be so inclined as to bring along a travel-size packet of Kleenex for yourselves and to share with fellow exhibit-goers.

There were few dry eyes – my own included – when it came to reading the eulogy Diana’s brother gave at Westminister Abbey, watching footage of her funeral, and seeing photos of the tremendous blankets of bouquets, candles, and homemade cards spread before Buckingham Palace in the weeks following the princess' death.

Most heart-wrenching of all were the bookcases filled with the volumes and volumes of letters of condolences sent by hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. Children and adults, acquaintances, close friends, and adoring fans offered cards, notes, and drawings expressing love and gratitude to Diana for the inspiring life she led, and heartfelt sympathy for her young sons, William and Henry.

You may think I'm a sap. And mind you, not in a million years did I expect to be standing somewhere inside a casino, whispering to my friend, "I'm getting all verklempt." I was in it for a glimpse at some fantastic jewels and the infamous wedding dress. What I got was a glimpse into the life of someone who did not take her privilege and fame for granted, but in fact used her visibility to advocate for the sick and oppressed - for those who felt invisible.

Wear a chic hat for the festivities, like these ladies.
I implore you to find an afternoon to stop in and view this exhibit. Leave your significant other at the slot machines if you must, and make it a solo trip. But personally, I recommend taking along a few of your closest and classiest friends, who can appreciate a refreshing bit of beauty and inspiration. 


  1. I think you and this exhibit are the classiest acts to have hit this casino in a long while!

  2. @zoe - Why THANK you, my dear! Cheerio, heh. :D