Princess Diana's gowns to be on display at Kensington Palace

LONDON -- Fourteen dresses once worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, will take their place alongside the "Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection" at Kensington Palace State Apartments during a special exhibit set to run from Oct. 1 through March 31.

Among the dresses on display is the blue velvet gown Diana wore to a state dinner at the White House, where the princess waltzed with actor John Travolta. Admission to the exhibit is about $16 and includes entrance to the State Apartments and "Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection."

Kensington Palace is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. An audio tour of the exhibit and of the "Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection" is included in the price of admission.

The dress collection includes displays of court dress from the 16th century to the present day. "[Princess Diana's] stunning gowns will add a new dimension to the 'Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection,' " said Nigel Arch, director of Kensington Palace and curator of the collection.

"Visitors will see the evolution of royal style and Princess Diana's role in its development." The dresses were originally purchased in 1997 at the now-famous Christie's auction of Princess Diana's gowns.

All profits from the princess' dress exhibit, expected to be up to $255,000, will go to charity, with half going to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and the other half going to Historic Royal Palaces, a registered charity, for the improvement of visitor facilities to the State Apartments at Kensington Palace.

Kensington Palace is under the direction of Historic Royal Palaces, which also is responsible for the care and conservation of the Tower of London, the Banqueting House at Whitehall, Hampton Court Palace and Kew Palace with Queen Charlotte's Cottage.

For more information on these London landmarks and special events scheduled throughout the year, call (800) 806-7187.

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