The Londoness


Born in Paris.

Made in London.

Teller of London Tales.

I Spy Lady Di | Princess Diana’s London

Diana, or Lady Di, as she was known, continues to fascinate us today, and the memory of the People’s Princess still beats at the core of London’s heart. Diana is omnipresent on the London map: the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, Playground and Memorial Walk, the White Garden and her once home, Kensington Palace. In memory of the People’s Princess, I thought it would be fun to re-trace Diana’s steps through London. Where did Diana live in London, where did she like to eat, and what were her favourite shops? Let’s go visit Diana’s London (and meet some friends and foes along the way).

Diana's London

Princess Diana, Diana's London, Lady Di, Prince Charles, William and Harry

Where did Diana live in London?

No 60, Coleherne Court

Where did Diana live in London?

So, this is where the romance started. is where a Sloaney Lady Diana Spencer lived with her three roommates when her courtship with Prince Charming started. The 17-year-old Prince Charles first met Diana when she was only five years old, when she was at Sandringham having a playdate with Prince Andrew. They met again in November 1977 when she was 16 and he was dating Diana’s sister, Sarah. In 1980, Charles started courting Diana, proposing to her in February in 1981.

Kensington Palace

Where did Diana live in London?

Kensington Palace, or KP as Diana referred to it, was the Princess’s home until her death. She lived in Apartments 8 and 9 with William and Harry (and Charles, of course, pre-separation). Today, it is home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Diana's funeral

Kensington Palace on the day of Diana’s funeral (image by Duncan Kelman).

Where was Diana’s engagement ring from?

Diana engagement ring, Garrard

Diana’s engagement ring, now worn by Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, was from Garrard at 24 Albermale Street in Mayfair. Diana chose a 12-carat Ceylon sapphire with a cluster of 18 solitaire diamonds. Her Majesty The Queen picked up the £28,000 tab.

Garrard jeweller, royal family

In 1843, Queen Victoria appointed Garrard as Crown Jeweller. Garrard re-cut the famous Koh-i-Noor 105.6 carat diamond, now set in the centre of the Queen Mother’s Crown. The company also created the Delhi Durbar tiara, worn by Queen Mary in 1911 for King George V’s coronation as Emperor of India (image: Wellcome Trust).

Where did Lady Di “come out”?

Princess Diana, Goldsmith Hall

(Image: Goldsmith’s Hall)

Goldsmith’s Hall is where Diana “came out” for her first public engagement with Charles. She wore that  black dress, the foxy number with the generous décolleté. Diana was instantly catapulted onto the world stage and into a fashion icon.

Goldsmiths’ Hall is a Grade I building in the City of London. The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths has been here since 1339, and it was a sparkling location for a dazzling debut. It’s available for hire if you’re thinking of holding any swanky parties.

Where did Lady Di spend her night before the wedding?

Where did Diana spend the night before her wedding?

Image: Royal Collection Trust  © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Clarence House was the home of Elizabeth, The Queen Mother when Diana married Charles, and it’s where Diana spent her last night as a Lady Di. She dined with her sister upstairs, whilst the Queen Mother dined and watched an episode of ‘Dad’s Army’ with Diana’s maternal grandmother downstairs.

Clarence House is now the official residence of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. The original house was built by John Nash between 1825 and 1827 but sustained bomb damage during the Blitz. Clarence House has since undergone a major facelift. It’s open to the public for a limited time in August each year.

Where did Diana and Charles get married?

Where did Diana get married?

Diana married her prince in St Paul’s Cathedral. The fairy-tale wedding that wasn’t meant to be was watched by a global audience of 750 million on Wednesday, 29 July 1981. Diana insisted on being 30 seconds late for her wedding, despite royal protocol that dictated absolute punctuality. You can see the Glass Coach used to transport Diana and her father, Earl Spencer, here.

What were Diana’s favourite restaurants?

Le Caprice, 20 Arlington Street, St James’s

Diana's favourite restaurants

Le Caprice was one of Diana’s most-loved restaurants. The night she died the restaurant kept her table empty. Diana wasn’t the only member of the royal family who liked tucking into a plate of modern European fare at Le Caprice. Princess Margaret was a fan and it’s one of Camilla’s favourites. Londoness is also rather partial to the fish and chips – with chips and minted puréed peas, of course.

San Lorenzo, Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge

Diana's favourite restaurants in London, San Lorenzo

Closer to home, San Lorenzo was also a favourite of Diana’s. She became close friends with the Italian owns Mara and Lorenzo Berni, and the restaurant soon became a sanctuary for her. She would frequently eat here with William and Harry.

Da Mario Pizza, Gloucester Road

Diana's favourite restaurants in London

Diana liked to bring William and Harry for pizza here. Da Mario is where Renee Zellweger scoffed down countless pizzas in a bid to pile the 20 pounds on for her role in ‘Bridget Jones.’

Kensington Gardens

Where did Diana live in London?

Diana was a regular in and around the park, and I even caught a glimpse of her rollerblading out of Kensington Palace Gardens back in the early 90s. The historic Sunken Garden in Kensington Palace has been transformed into a White Garden, in memory of Diana.

Kensington High Street

Only a hop, skip and a jump from KP, Diana would occasionally be seen in McDonalds (with William and Harry), Barkers department store (now Whole Foods) and Marks and Spencer.

Where did Diana give birth to Princes William and Harry?

Where was William born?

The Lindo Wing, St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington is where the magic happens, where most royal cherubs are born and introduced to the world. Royal obstetrician George Pinker was responsible for relocating the royal births from palace to hospital, and he subsequently delivered nine royal babies at the Lindo. Prince George and Princess Charlotte are the most recent royal births here. I have visited the Lindo as a patient, sitting in front of the lift down which future kings (and possibly queens) have made their inaugural journey, and can tell you that it’s a very standard-looking hospital wing. No palatial luxuries here, ma’am.

Other places you might have bumped into Princess Diana

Royal Brompton Hospital, Sydney Street, Chelsea

Diana first met Hasnat Khan at the Royal Brompton Hospital. Khan was a doctor here, and Diana was instantly smitten. She spent many nights here in Khan’s overnight room, using her visits to patients in the hospital as a decoy.

Ormeley Lodge, Ham

Princess Diana's London

Image, courtesy of my lovely friend, Lucy Siddiqi who likes to walk her dog past Ormeley Lodge.

Ormeley Lodge is an imposing Queen Anne mansion in Ham, on the fringes of Richmond Park. Home to Annabel Goldsmith (the Mayfair nightclub is named after her,) she was a great friend and confidante of Diana’s. It’s here that Diana famously confronted Charles and Camilla at a birthday party over their affair.

Where did Diana wear the Revenge Dress?

Diana and the Serpentine Gallery

Who can forget Diana’s drop-dead gorgeous frock at the Vanity Fair summer party held at the Serpentine Gallery in 1994? It was a bombshell of a gown, dubbed the ‘Revenge Dress.’ The party was held on the same night as Charles was on ITV, spilling the beans to Jonathan Dimbleby about his marriage. I’ll let you guess who grabbed the headline news the following morning.

Who was Diana’s favourite designer?

Who was Diana's favourite designer?

Catherine Walker of Sydney Street, Chelsea, supplied a whopping 1,000 outfits for Princess Diana. She was buried in a black Walker-designed dress.

Lady Di

As a 12-year-old Parisian girl who spent her summers in England, I was utterly bewildered and bemused by all the brouhaha over the royal engagement. My friend’s mother kept scrapbooks containing newspaper and magazine cuttings of every possible snippet of the soon-to-be royal couple. Teapots, mugs, tea towels and commemorative coins made an appearance.

Princess Diana's London

Visiting my friend in the Avignon last month, I was thrilled to discover she had kept every scrapbook and newspaper from the wedding as well as of Diana’s funeral.

Two Billion Broken Hearts

Princess Diana's funeral

Diana funeralDiana funeralDiana funeral

Lady Di Funeral

Image: Duncan Kelman

Candle in the Wind

I wanted to end this post with a rather sweet postscript. Diana’s favourite tune was Manning Sherwin’s, ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.’ She would listen to this whilst writing her innumerable handwritten notes from Kensington Palace.

Sources: ‘The Diana Chronicles,’ by Tina Brown, Wikipedia. Feature image by Everchr. Thank you to Angela de Plano for letting me use her mother’s clippings. Thank you to Duncan Kelman for his photos of Diana’s funeral. You can follow Duncan on Instagram.

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15 Comments

  • Annie

    December 29, 2018 at 4:10 am

    Thank you for sharing this! I’m coming to London from the US for the first time in February and will definitely check out a few of these spots!!

    Reply
  • A Belle & A Brit

    September 19, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    This is such a wonderful and enjoyable post, and great tribute to Diana♥ I was only 9 at the time, but even as a child I remember what a horrible tragedy her death was. My mother absolutely loved Diana, and I remember waking up at 3 in the morning US time with her, to watch the funeral live in London. So much sadness that day. I’ll be sure to visit some of these places when I get back to London later this year. Thanks for this Scarlett! ♥♥♥

    Reply
  • Shelley Roitman

    September 1, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Alas, she was a star, and he was not, & therein lay the problem. As we follow Londoness around town beautifully restoring the life of the People’s Princess, we cannot help but wish – might it not turn out some other way?

    Reply
  • Miriam

    August 31, 2017 at 7:49 am

    There are so many things I did not know about her – she really was an unbelievable woman with so much grace and kindness. Would love to visit the places you have mentioned in this post, such a great read! Can’t believe today marks the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, it seems just like yesterday.

    Miriam x

    Reply
  • Cameron Macdonald

    August 28, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Hello
    Thoroughly enjoy you Blogs and research. I noticed you may have not listed Cafe Diana in Nottinghill Gate. I managed to visit it in June and the obvious displays at KP many times. However addresses for the next trip you have invested so much more for this London passionate who lives way too far away Down Under. I too was made in London am now again a regular visitor when once it wasn’t always possible. A strange hideous yearning and very emotional sensation not being able to return to that ever so real dimension ones soul calls home. It’s always calling you home never stops its relentless. There must be plenty of us absentee Londoners spinning round the world away from a place we know so perfectly mostly probably previous lives. Just sayin.
    Sincerely grateful for your posts Ty Jeffries introduced me to and you.
    Cameron Macdonald

    Reply
    • DiaryofaLondoness

      August 28, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      Ah Cameron, you have just answered my question from Facebook! Down Under is a bit too far away for a quick jaunt to London. Thanks for pointing out Cafe Diana, there were a number of cafes and restaurants I know she frequented but the post was getting rather voluminous! But you are right, she used to go there with the boys. Their school, Wetherby, was close by (another one I wanted to include in the post). I was fascinated doing the research for this – so much to learn about the beautiful Lady Di. And quite the most photogenic person ever – except for Miss Hope Springs of course! Thank for reading the blog and all your fun comments – it means a lot to me! Scarlett x

      Reply
  • Louise Riis

    August 28, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Oh wow. So many things that I didn’t know about Diane’s hang out places (and now I need to try them out of course)
    I do however know Coleherne Court (as I live just oppostite), and when my friends come to visit, they find it VERY interesting, that Diana lived just across the street! (I am very proud of this of course, haha!) 😉

    Loved this post! Diana truly was a remarkable woman (and oh my God that Travolta dress… My all time favourite)

    X Louise

    Reply
    • DiaryofaLondoness

      August 28, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      You certainly live in a great area Louise! Yes, that Travolta dress was just fabulous. I feel like I got to know a little bit of Diana whilst doing all this research – she had her naughty moments, but she really truly was an English Rose. Enjoy Little Boltons – hope you’re having a nice sundowner! Scarlett

      Reply
      • Louise Riis

        August 28, 2017 at 6:05 pm

        Well, dont we all have our naughty moments from time to time… I think it’s part of being human haha! Anyway, you will have to come and visit one day for sure and tell me all about Diana! Lots of love from “Hormone-land”
        X

        Reply

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