Diana remembered with Kensington Palace memorial garden 20 years after her death


Diana, Princess of Wales used to chat to those working in the garden at Kensington Palace, the head gardener at the royal residence has said. 

Marking two decades since her death, a new memorial garden has opened at the princess's former home, where her sons Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge, his wife the Duchess and their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, now live.

Named The White Garden, its white flowers and foliage have been inspired by memories of Diana's life, style and image, such as her white "Elvis" Catherine Walker dress, currently on display inside Kensington Palace.

Formerly the Sunken Garden, it can be viewed from a public walkway and will be at its best until September.

Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the princess's death, head gardener Sean Harkin said previous gardeners have told him stories about how Diana expressed an interest in the garden.

"Kensington Palace was the home of Princess Diana for 15 years and there's gardeners who aren't here any more but remember, and told me stories, about when they were working here in the Sunken Garden.

"And they remember Princess Diana coming by and she would stop and she would admire the changing floral displays in the garden.

"And we change them over in springtime and in summer, so it can look quite different. And she would stop and she would have a chat with the gardeners and comment on all their hard work," he said.

Recalling one particular story, he said: "I remember there was another gardener who told me a story about when he was walking along with a wheelbarrow with a fellow gardener. It's really embarrassing, but he tripped.

"He kind of fell over. It was over-weighted, the wheelbarrow, so everything kind of spilled everywhere. And Princess Diana was going by and turned around and said 'Bad luck, chaps', and kind of gave a smile.

"And they kind of smiled and found it really quite funny, but also it's quite embarrassing when that happens."

The White Garden, already open and free to the public, commemorates the 20 years since the princess died in a Paris car crash when William was 15 and Harry just 12.

Diana was synonymous with the west London palace and mourners flocked to the residence in the aftermath of her death in August 1997 to leave a mass of flowers.