Diana’s London: 8 London Landmarks Frequented by Princess Diana
This month marks the 20-year anniversary of the tragic death of Princess Diana. As a tribute to the People’s Princess, we’re showcasing the London homes and establishments she frequented—and which you can, too.
The London residence of all British sovereigns since 1837, Buckingham Palace was home to Princess Diana for a short time during her engagement to Prince Charles. Royal fans can take a guided tour of the State Rooms of London’s most famous palace in August and September. Be sure to check out the tribute to Diana in the Music Room—Prince William and Prince Harry hand-selected the personal items on display.
Reputed to be Princess Diana’s favourite restaurant, this iconic Italian eatery remains a fixture in London’s tony Knightsbridge neighbourhood. During its 80s heyday, it wouldn’t be unusual to find the glamorous princess dining here alongside the likes of Joan Collins and Madonna. There’s still enough celebrity buzz to keep the paparazzi patiently waiting at San Lorenzo’s doors, but folks don’t just flock here for the food—it’s all about coming to see and be seen, darling.
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While you can’t tour Kensington Palace’s royal apartments (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry currently live here), it’s still possible to visit this historic royal palace that served as Diana’s last home. Check out Diana: Her Fashion Story—a temporary exhibit that traces the evolution of her signature style through the fabulous frocks she wore. (Did you know Diana was the first female royal to wear trousers to a public event?) Afterwards, stroll through The White Garden, a newly established Diana memorial brimming with her favourite flowers.
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St. George’s Square, Pimlico
Remember that infamous picture of the notoriously shy Di displaying her gams in a see-through skirt? It was taken at this garden adjacent to Young England Kindergarten, where Diana worked as a nursery school assistant. Apparently her handlers thought having Diana pose for a few pictures would satisfy the press. Sadly, this impromptu photo session only fuelled the media’s obsession with the young ingénue.
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St. Paul’s Cathedral
On July 29, 1981, people across the globe were glued to their TVs to watch the royal wedding—but those cameras weren’t rolling at the traditional royal wedding venue of Westminster Abbey. Instead, Charles and Diana chose to tie the knot at the much larger St. Paul’s Cathedral in order to accommodate their whopping 3,500-person guest list. Situated in the City of London, visitors can tour this Christopher Wren masterpiece and walk down the aisle just as Diana once did.
Though Princess Diana wasn’t granted a state funeral, the service at Westminster Abbey had all the pomp and ceremony of a royal funeral. Her coffin was transported from Kensington Palace through the streets of London, before arriving at the Abbey on September 6, 1997. All coronations since 1066 and the majority of royal weddings have been performed here, including the 1986 marriage of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, which Diana attended. Try to schedule your visit to the abbey during Evensong—an unforgettable choral service that takes place most days of the week at 5 p.m.
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The Princess of Wales was known to enjoy visits to Hyde Park, and images of her inline skating along its trails were splashed across the British tabloids throughout the early 1990s. Set in the southern portion of the park, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain is the official London memorial dedicated to the People’s Princess. It’s an ideal spot to stop for a moment to reflect upon her life and legacy.
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Princess Diana’s final resting place—and her family’s ancestral home—is but a two-hour train ride north of London. Althorp Estate is open for tours on select dates between May and September. Visitors are also welcome to roam the grounds, but you won’t be granted access to the island on which she is interred (shown here). Floral tributes, however, can be laid at the Grecian-inspired temple situated across from Round Oval Lake. Be sure to venture inside Althorp House to admire Mario Testino’s Vanity Fair photographs of the princess.
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