Still Missing

The real Princess Di is just a faint presence at the Museum of Art show

If you don't get the idea, stop off in the gift shop at the end, where there are Diana artifacts for sale, from an $11 packet of postcards to a $225 Limoges rose egg. A modest 10 percent of the take goes to Diana's favorite charities.

On one wall, old home movies are screened continuously, showing Diana from the day she came home as a baby to some balmy summer days in the estate's voluminous yard when she was a feisty elementary schooler. In one shot, her mother lies on her back and lifts the 8- or 9-year-old Diana on outstretched feet. Then, in a shocking maneuver that had people doing double takes, the mother quickly released the daughter backward, flinging her headfirst into the grass. The scene quickly switches to another day. Was Diana hurt? Not clear. But the scene makes you wonder. Was it through rough acrobatic tricks that the family tried to prepare Diana for rocky times ahead?

The Dress: Drowning in taffeta and tulle.
The Dress: Drowning in taffeta and tulle.
Little Di's froggy
Little Di's froggy


On display through December 31.
Museum of Art, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-525-5500.

Somehow, I was most touched by the gallery that depicts her childhood. There are cases here displaying some of her toys, such as a Rolls-Royce pedal car, a stuffed gingham frog, and some ceramic animals, including a Lewis Carroll rabbit with a broken ear. There are drawings of the pre-adolescent Diana, with long blond hair, looking like the Breck girl, and a picture of her cat Marmalade. There's even a 1966 letter from Diana to her parents, who were away on a trip, in which the girl reports, in the distinctive circular handwriting that she kept until she died, that "we had a power out on Monday and I went to bed with a candle in my room." There's nothing like words written in childhood to highlight a looming tragedy.

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