Princess Di has left the building

January 08, 1998|By Kevin Cowherd

NEWS ITEM: Callers from around the world jammed 24-hour phone lines as tickets went on sale to view the burial site of Diana, Princess of Wales. Neighbors fear the site could be transformed into a British Graceland, the Memphis, Tenn., mansion that has become a shrine to Elvis Presley.

Welcome! As you begin your tour of Di-Land, we ask that you take a moment from weeping and dabbing your eyes to read this helpful brochure.

Your tour starts in the Great Hall of Decolletage, where on display are many of the stylish outfits Diana wore during her marriage (if one could call it that) to the evil, jug-eared philanderer, Prince Charles.

From there it's on to the Shoes, Shoes, Shoes! Room, where more than 200 pairs of expensive footwear make up the largest such collection since the glory days of Imelda Marcos.

At this point, you may opt to continue on to the Atrium of Earrings.

But if all the gawking has left you hungry or thirsty, why not stop in at the Princess Di Brew-Pub?

More than 100 hand-crafted beers are available for your sampling pleasure. While the princess herself indulged only in an occasional glass of wine or champagne, she possessed a keen appreciation for the restorative powers of a fine Bass ale.

(But remember: There is such a thing as too much restorative power! More than once, Diana encountered the evil, jug-eared philanderer himself glassy-eyed and unsteady on his feet after an evening spent hunched over too many pints -- often with Camilla the Witch.)

Your tour continues in the Dodi Room, named after billionaire department store heir Dodi Fayed, her constant companion in her final months, whom Diana fondly called "the only man I can stand to be with after all those years with You Know Who."

Lining the zebra-skinned walls is a photographic history of their wonderful, all-too-brief time together: Dodi and Diana dodging the paparazzi at a beach on the Riviera; Dodi wielding a clutch-bag at a particularly nettlesome cameraman in St. Moritz; Dodi in a London courtroom seeking an injunction against another tabloid hack.

The Dodi Room also features an impressive collection of ash trays, swizzle sticks and matchbook covers from the many glamorous nightspots the two visited.

From here, your tour winds back outside to the Grotto of Kindness, where Diana often sought solitude while contemplating the troubles of the world.

On Sunday evenings, weather permitting, a candlelight vigil is held here. Tour participants often come forth voluntarily -- moist, crumpled Kleenexes in hand -- to talk about what Princess Diana meant to them. Here are just a few of the touching tributes we've heard:

"What was truly inspirational was her poise during her troubled ,, marriage to the evil, jug-eared philanderer, whom she stayed with only because of the children."

"I greatly admired her work with civilian land-mine victims, although one wonders how she could concentrate with that horrible little man making her life a living hell."

"I drew strength from the way she battled her various eating disorders, which were doubtless brought on by the sad, pitiful weasel she had the misfortune to wed."

Finally, we come to the highlight of any visit to Di-Land, a look via telescope at the Meditation Island, Diana's final resting place.

Set on three lush acres in the center of a tranquil lake, her grave site is illuminated by the 17-meter-high neon "Candle in the Wind," symbolic of Diana's boundless spirit and, of course, the monster Elton John song of the same name (still topping the charts in the U.K. after 44 weeks!)

Note: For security reasons, no one will be permitted on the island itself. The lovely lake perimeter is patrolled by Doberman guard dogs and anti-terrorist units recently returned from duty in Belfast. Understandably, they are not in the best of moods. Please do not attempt an island visit!

As your tour winds to a close, we hope you'll take a moment to visit the Di-Land Gift Shop.

More than 700 officially licensed items, from "I Luv Diana!" teddy bears to "Dodi and Di 4-Ever!" key chains and coffee mugs are on sale, including our most popular item, the "You Evil, Jug-Eared Philanderer, You Caused All This!" T-shirt. (Available in sizes small, medium and large. Just 11 pounds or $17.95 U.S.)

We hope you enjoy your tour of Di-Land. Please come back and visit us soon!

Pub Date: 1/08/98

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