There is laughter in the distance when you enter Hyde Park at Black Lion Gate. The aroma of coffee mixed with the smell of autumn leaves comes from the same direction. I was thinking how children laugh so freely and so easily, and I smiled somehow knowing how delighted she would be.
The Princess Diana Memorials are all reminiscent of the life she lived and honors her legacy. They are unique in their representation, and there is symbolism delicately woven into the memorials with her spirit in mind.
Diana’s Memorial Playground is a stones throw from Kensington Palace. It is what you might expect of a palace playground with its elaborate design, attention to detail, and tidy grounds. But unless you are pretending to be royalty, proper and dignified are not on the agenda. Instead, it is a place where kids are invited to just be kids. There is curiosity everywhere with secret doors and pathways to somewhere else. There is mystery lurking on the pirate ship, there is time for creative expression in the musical forest, there is science exploration in the river, and there is fun just like she would have wanted.
The White Garden is a short walk from the playground to Kensington Palace. This is a temporary memorial inspired by Diana’s life and to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her death. The monochromatic landscape was deliberate because of her love for white and the freshness it represents. She was known to many as the classic English rose, so for that reason roses are planted, along with lilies and forget-me-nots that were her favorites. The intent was that it would light up the landscape even on the gloomiest of days, just like she did for so many.
The Princess Diana Memorial Fountain is a short walk through Hyde Park. From a distance it looks like a lazy river ride at an amusement park and when you arrive it’s metaphor becomes clear. It is symbolic of her life. It is in the shape of an oval with the flow of the river originating at the top of the hill. It is unique, as the river flows in two directions and the water changes with the curves, and bumps, just like the ups and downs of life. There are parts that seem to go with the flow, and there are playful bubbly areas that simmer before navigating through rough, uneven passages. It’s banks define the cold, hardened rigidity she felt surrounding her, and the river is the inertia that could not be quieted. The water pools quietly in a calm at the bottom where visitors are encouraged to wade and reflect her in her life.
There is a sense of peace and understanding about Diana’s public and private life in the memorials. While she touched the lives of many, she changed the lives of even more. The memorials are an echo of that life she lived and the Princess of Wales roses surrounding the property are one last reminder that a new day will come. It is inspired by the sunset. Seems quite fitting about now.
Thanks for stopping by.