London – Friday, September 18, 2009

In a surprising turn of events I had no appointments today, so after doing necessary work at my laptop we went to the heart of London to check out some things we had not seen before.

Our first stop was at Kensington Palace, a smaller palace than some I showed in blogs last May.

Kensington has been a royal residence since 1689. Princess Diana and her sons lived her for several years.

This is the impressive gate where, as you may recall, following Diana’s death, thousands of people placed floral tributes to her.

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Inside the gates you get a clear view of King William of Orange.

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His outfit has such variety and flair compared to today’s functional men’s fashions. I wonder where I can buy an outfit like his.

Speaking of flair and fashion, inside the palace one of the displays shows several gowns worn by Princess Diana.

Gardens right next to the palace.
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The palace grounds include The Orangery, once a place where oranges (no surprise there) and other exotic fruits were grown year round, now a dining area. We had lunch there, including scones and tea, in sunny splendor.
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You really must come to see these places for yourself.

Next, we took a long walk east of the Palace, through Kensington Gardens and around the impressive Prince Albert Memorial. Much of the Gardens consists of lawn and unmowed grass and trees, rather than flower beds.

Immediately east of Kensington Gardens begins the much larger Hyde Park. We took time to experience the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, which is not a fountain in the usual sense of having a pool and sprays of water, but a circular channel where water flows down both directions from the top over stones and other textured areas to a quiet pool at the bottom.
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This photo doesn’t quite show the impact – I would have had to have been on a lift high above the fountain (where are Doug Funk and his brothers when I need them?) – but it gives you some idea of the scene.

Here is the terraced area – if terrace is the right word for it.
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A plaque described the symbolism. Just as Diana was accessible to the people, you can walk into the center of the area or sit with your feet in the water.

I keep my eyes open for birds, and near the fountain I spotted this one.
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A bronze sculpture named Isis, after the Egyptian goddess of nature. By British artist Simon Gudgeon.

In the evening we went to see the musical Oliver!. Incredible sets and set changes right before our eyes. The acting and singing by the actors playing Oliver, Artful Dodger, Fagin, Nancy and Bill Sykes were outstanding. The sexual content was offensive to me, but all the rest of the show was spectacular.

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2 Responses

  1. Ah! Kensington Palace! Harold and I visited there when we were in London in 2008. I immediately recognized the front of the palace without reading your narration. We did not go into the palace…I see we missed out on some interesting opportunities. We loved the gardens! We have some beautiful photos taken of the same garden you posted. What wonderful opportunities you have to enjoy London and its culture!

    • In the palace you also see several of the state rooms, a sewing room like the underpaid seamstresses used to work in years ago, and a fascinating display about the dances for debutantes that were an annual event until discontinued in the 1950s.
      John

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