King of pop’s crown jewels are a thriller

PUBLISHED: 16:57 28 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:50 16 August 2010

Photo by Simon Hildrew.

Photo by Simon Hildrew.

AN EXHIBITION dedicated to the life of a pop legend has had its world premiere. Michael Jackson: The Official Exhibition, opened

AN EXHIBITION dedicated to the life of a pop legend has had its world premiere.

Michael Jackson: The Official Exhibition, opened yesterday at The O2 Bubble, in Greenwich Peninsula.

A throne, Rolls Royce Phantom and a treasure trove of personal items worn by the King of Pop feature at the exhibition.

It opened just hours after a new film, This Is It, had its first screening at venues across the world charting Jackson's rehearsals for his ill-fated come back tour planned for the O2 Arena before his untimely death in June.

During his 50-date tour the pop icon was going to stay at Foxbury Manor in Kemnal Road, Chislehurst, an Elizabethan-style mansion.

But he died in his Los Angeles home on June 25 after overdosing on prescription drugs just days before he was set to move to the borough.

The mansion is owned by a wealthy Turkish family and it is understood that Jacko was prepared to pay £1 million for the pleasure of staying.

The exhibition chronicles Jackson's rise to fame with The Jackson 5 at Motown Records, his record-breaking solo career, and end with the spectacular shows he had planned for The O2 Arena.

Michael Jackson's estate has opened up his extensive archives from his homes, Neverland Ranch, concert collections and video vault to present more than 250 items, including awards, clothing items and a wide range of personal belongings.

It features many of his trademark gloves, an original Jackson 5 contract, personally commissioned portraits, the largest publicly displayed collection of his iconic concert and video costumes.

Robert Santelli, executive director of The GRAMMY Museum, said of this exhibition: "Michael Jackson was undeniably one of the most significant entertainers in music history. His unique blend of dance, fashion, showmanship, spectacle, and true musical genius marked a watershed moment in popular music, weaving together an intricate story that deserves to be told."

As some of Jackson's best-known hits are piped through the building, visitors can wander around a regal archway with a crown and crest, used to welcome guests to Jackson's fairytale Neverland ranch.

Beneath it is Jackson's 1967 Rolls-Royce Phantom, which was used by the singer and his close friend Dame Elizabeth Taylor to go around Los Angeles.

The rocket ship used in Jackson's Leave Me Alone video also feature, as well as a carousel-style rocking horse which was a gift from Dame Elizabeth to the singer.

Michael Jackson: The Official Exhibition will show for three months at The O2 bubble.

Tickets are priced £15 for adults and £12 concessions. Tickets cost more at weekends.

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