There’s a gut-wrenching Easter egg inside Banksy’s “Dismaland,” a satirical theme park located in the seaside English town of Weston-super-Mare.
A Cinderella exhibit, depicting the iconic Disney princess’s horse-drawn pumpkin carriage, appears to reenact the death of Princess Diana.
The carriage is turned upside down, and mannequin photographers surround it. Their camera flashes go off like strobe lights. Cinderella’s long blonde hair spills out the side window, in what appears to be a reference to Princess Diana’s own golden locks, which were visible from her car after a fatal crash in 1997.
*Warning: Graphic images and descriptions ahead.*
That late summer night, Princess Diana and her companion Dodi Al Fayed chased down the streets of Paris to escape pursuing paparazzi. According to a 2008 inquest by the UK government, her chauffer, Henri Paul, who had been drinking, lost control of the vehicle as he sped away from photographers on motorcycles.
The jury found Paul and the photographers responsible for the deaths of Princess Diana and Al Fayed.
Here’s a photo of the crumpled Mercedez-Benz just hours after the crash, as police removed it from the underpass.
Banksy’s latest daring installation appears to be a commentary on the modern day relationship between public figures and the media. These days, it seems celebrities’ personal lives are mere fodder for the public’s enjoyment.
“Step inside the fairytale and see how it feels to be a real princess,” the official Park Map says. “Souvenir photos available.”
It appears the fairytale isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Throughout her life, Princess Diana battled bitterly for her privacy. What started as the public’s interest in the seemingly storybook romance of Lady Di and Prince Charles of Wales led to rumours of affairs, probing by the press, and a restraining order against one particularly invasive photographer. She failed to get the full treatment she needed for an eating disorder and depression because she and her supporters knew the press would hound her even more for it, according to biographer Sally Bedell Smith.
When Princess Diana died, the paparazzi-motorists were among the first to arrive on scene at the crash site. Seven photographers were taken into custody after the accident, and police confiscated the negatives from their camera rolls.
Banky’s depiction of the events captures Princess Diana’s crippling relationship with the press.
The Cinderella exhibit is located inside a magic castle, the centrepiece of the park. It appears rusted and abandoned.
A photo posted by Clare Reddington (@clarered) on Aug 20, 2015 at 11:26am PDT
This Vine by Mashable’s UK editor Tim Chester, who posted many others from his visit to Dismaland, captures the intensity of the scene. The lights are blinding.
In this brighter photo, we see that the photographers are wearing motorcycle helmets.
Not a single pedestrian steps forward to aid the injured princesss. According to a civilian-witness of Princess Diana’s car crash, the paparazzi swarmed the vehicle to take photos and never tried to give medical assistance.
A photo posted by Dismaland (@dismaland_park) on Aug 20, 2015 at 11:56am PDT
The exhibit has, of course, courted controversy. Some applaud Banksy’s boldness, while others condemn his insensitivity.
The Mirror’s Richard Smith called the display “jaw-dropping.” A commenter wrote, “The Cinderella/Diana piece is disgusting and in such bad taste.”
Some offered similar sentiments on social media:
Though, I do worry if Banksy went a little too far, especially with that crashed Cinderella carriage echoes how Princess Diana met her doom.
— Marwan Mohd Zahari (@MarwanGC) August 21, 2015
The #Banksy Cinderella/Princess Diana commentary piece is just too real.
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