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).
Where did Diana live in London?
- Where did Diana live in London?
- Where was Diana’s engagement ring from?
- Where did Lady Di “come out”?
- Where did Lady Di spend her night before the wedding?
- Where did Diana and Charles get married?
- What were Diana’s favourite restaurants?
- Kensington Gardens
- Kensington High Street
- Where did Diana give birth to Princes William and Harry?
- Other places you might have bumped into Princess Diana
- Where did Diana wear the Revenge Dress?
- Who was Diana’s favourite designer?
- Lady Di
- Two Billion Broken Hearts
- Candle in the Wind
No 60, Coleherne Court
So, this is where the romance started. This 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, whilst 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, 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.
Where was Diana’s engagement ring from?
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.
Where did Lady Di “come out”?
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?
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?
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
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
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 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.’
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?
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
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?
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?
Catherine Walker of Sydney Street, Chelsea, supplied a whopping 1,000 outfits for Princess Diana. She was buried in a black Walker-designed dress.
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.
Two Billion Broken Hearts
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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