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Princess Diana memorial garden opened at Kensington Palace

by Gemma Strong

A new memorial garden has been opened at Kensington Palace to mark the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's death. Named the White Garden, it will be filled with white flowers and foliage, inspired by memories of Diana's life, style and image – such as her white 'Elvis' Catherine Walker Dress. It stands on the site formerly known as the Sunken Garden, and can be viewed from a public walkway.

Princess Diana lived for a number of years at Kensington Palace. It is now home to her two sons, Prince Harry, Prince William, his wife the Duchess of Cambridge and their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Head gardener Sean Harkin said he had heard from previous gardeners stories about Diana's interest in the grounds of the palace.

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A new memorial garden has been opened to mark the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's death

"Kensington Palace was the home of Princess Diana for 15 years and there's gardeners who aren't here anymore but remember, and told me stories, about when they were working here in the Sunken Garden," he said. "And they remember Princess Diana coming by and she would stop and she would admire the changing floral displays in the garden.

"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. 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.

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The new White Garden at Kensington Palace

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"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."

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Tributes left outside Kensington Palace following Diana's death

The White Garden – which is currently open and free to the public – marks the 20th anniversary since Diana was tragically killed in a car accident in August 1997, when Prince William was 15, and Prince Harry just 12. For many, the Princess was synonymous with the palace, and mourners flocked there after her death to leave a mass of flowers in tribute.