- A new museum in Tennessee caused an international media storm after it was reported to have an exhibit that features the death of Princess Diana.
- The National Enquirer Live! – a museum filled with pop culture and celebrity attractions based on the magazine’s cover stories over the years – opened its doors to the public on Friday.
- The Daily Beast first reported that the museum was a “theme park,” which “turns Princess Diana’s death into an attraction.”
- Other publications quickly followed suit, claiming the “theme park” featured a “crash-themed ride,” which would allow visitors to experience Diana’s last moments in the 1997 Paris crash which ended her life.
- However, the museum’s spokesperson, Rick Laney, told INSIDER that the reports are “wrong and misleading,” and that the “ride” is actually just a tiny locator map which shows the location where the crash took place.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
A new museum, The National Enquirer Live!, was the source of outrage for many last week after it was revealed it features an exhibit about the death of Princess Diana.
The museum, which opened its doors in Tennessee on Friday, is filled with pop culture references and celebrity-themed exhibitions, plucked straight from the magazine’s own cover stories throughout the years.
One of these exhibitions, “Royals Closet,” features a display based on the car crash that killed the princess back in 1997. However, it’s not what you have been led to believe.
The Daily Beast first reported that the new museum is a “theme park” which “turns Princess Diana’s death into an attraction.”
The report led readers to believe that the museum – or “theme park,” as it is referred to – is heavily based around her death, calling it “a prominent theme inside the chock-a-block funhouse.”
Other publications followed its lead, with the Sunday Times of South Africa reporting that a “Princess Diana crash-themed ride” had launched at an “amusement park” in the US.
However, museum spokesperson Rick Laney told INSIDER that the claims are “wrong and misleading.”
This “ride” simply doesn’t exist, he said. The museum’s “Royals Closet” – one of 15 galleries throughout the building – has a tiny locator map, which shows visitors where in Paris the car crash took place.
“The Daily Beast story was wrong and misleading,” Laney told INSIDER. “The National Enquirer Live! isn’t a theme park. There is nothing in the museum that could be considered as a ride. It’s a stand-alone building.
“The Princess Diana exhibit is a three-foot long locator map, showing downtown Paris. There’s a voice-over, which narrates the path Diana’s car took through Paris on the night of the crash, and each place lights up on the map as it is mentioned.
“We have used the same imagery that any news outlet would use to show a crash.”
Laney added that most guests “only spend 35 seconds” on the exhibit.
Meanwhile, the museum’s managing partner, Robin Turner, told the TODAY show that the exhibit was “done in very good taste.”
“Our readers will never have a chance to go to Paris to see it, so here is a way they can experience it,” he said in the clip.
The Daily Beast mentions it reached out to the royal family for comment, which Laney said “horrified” him.
“They were being asked about this ‘Princess Diana crash ride,’ so I was horrified,” he told INSIDER.
“I don’t know if they [Harry and William] are aware [of the museum] or not, but I would have to guess because of the coverage. I don’t know.”
When contacted by INSIDER, The Daily Beast said Laney confirmed the initial report was “totally accurate” on the day it was published.
The author added: “Since I didn’t visit the attraction myself, I relied on Robin Turner’s description of the Princess Diana feature, and faithfully reflected what he told me about it. That said, I guess they must be feeling the heat; I received several outraged reactions to it, many from the UK.”
The remainder of the “Royals Closet” features reproductions of the most lavish and expensive outfits ever worn by the royal family, including Harry’s military uniform and Kate Middleton’s designer gowns.
The gallery also gives fans the chance to pose with “royal guards” – mannequins in uniform.
However, the museum isn’t entirely clear of controversy.
Upon arrival, guests can download The National Enquirer Live! app, which is linked to the museum. The app allows them to interact with the different exhibitions and galleries as they pass through the building.
For the Diana exhibit, museum bosses have made the rather controversial decision to allow the app to ask visitors what they think the true cause of her death was.
It will also ask their opinions on the conspiracy theories surrounding the princess, such as if she was pregnant when she died in the crash, according to Laney.
“We want to get the story behind the story,” said Laney.
“There isn’t anything included that wasn’t already covered in the national media.”
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