Kensington Palace reveals new Sunken Garden design alongside Princess Diana statue

Kensington Palace reveals new Sunken Garden design alongside Princess Diana statue
Statue unveiled in honour of Princess of Wales will stand permanently

The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace has been newly redesigned to coincide with the unveiling of the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The statue, which will be revealed 1 July by Prince William and Prince Harry on what would have been Diana’s 60th birthday, will be permanently located in the Sunken Garden, which was one of her favourite places.

Garden designer Pip Morrison was in charge of the layout and planting scheme, and it was brought to life by the Gardens and Estates team at Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), led by deputy head, Graham Dillamore.

According to a spokesperson from Kensington Palace, the new design “retains historic structures” but boasts a simplified layout with deeper flower borders and a more generous lawn around the pool.

A view of the redesigned Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace

This creates “a calmer and more reflective setting for the statue”, which is intended to be viewed from the Cradle Walk.

The garden now features a number of Diana’s favourite flowers, including forget-me-nots, as well as many other spring and summer blooms in an array of pastel colours.

The Gardens and Estates team began work on the new design in October 2019. Since then, five gardeners have spent a total of 1,000 hours planting over 4,000 individual flowers.

Artist’s impression of the Sunken Garden

The flowers include over 200 roses of five varieties, 100 forget-me-nots, 300 tulips of three varieties, more than 500 lavender plants and 100 dahlias, 50 sweet peas and over 400m of fine, short cut turf laid on the lawn.

Morrison said: “This has been a very special project to work on, as the Sunken Garden was a favourite place of Diana, Princess of Wales.

“We have worked carefully to ensure that the new layout and planting scheme compliments the statue, providing a calming place for people who visit Kensington Palace to remember the Princess.”

A gardener works on planting in the Sunken Garden in May 2021

Dillamore added: “While she was in residence at Kensington Palace, Diana, Princess of Wales regularly admired the changing floral displays in the Sunken Garden and would always stop to talk with me and the other gardeners who cared for it.

“Over three decades later, I’m honoured to have been part of the team preparing the garden for the installation of this statue.

“We’ve incorporated a number of the Princess’s favourite flowers into the design, and I hope that visitors to the palace and gardens will enjoy its peaceful setting, and take a moment to reflect on the life and legacy of the princess.”

The Sunken Garden was created in 1908 by order of King Edward VII. The area the garden is now located was previously occupied by potting sheds and greenhouses.

It was temporarily renamed “The White Garden” in 2017 to mark the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death. During this time, it was planted with flowers in white and soft pastel colours based on items from Diana’s wardrobe that were then on display at the palace.

Both the redesigned garden and the new statue of Diana will be free for the public to view during the palace’s opening hours, which are from 10am to 6pm on Wednesdays to Sundays.