January 22nd, 2005

Day Three

We walked across Kensington Gardens till we bumped into Kensington Palace. Princess Di lived here (and Queen Victoria before her.) The whole park has been turned into a memorial to Di. There’s a Princess Diana walkway- with marked spots for you to pause and think beautiful thoughts- and a Princess Diana Memorial Fountain (newly installed)- which doesn’t work properly.

I keep waiting for Diana to dwindle into a mere historical figure like all the rest, but she doesn’t show any signs of doing so and maybe she won’t. After all, Marilyn, with whom she’s always compared, is still as big as she ever was- and she’s been dead over 40 years. There’s never been fame quite like this before, a fame kept evergreen (and ever present on TV) by the existence of a vast archive of recorded sound and image.

We came home the long way round, circling back down Kensington Church Street, a quiet, low-rise shopping street for all the world like the high street of a provincial market town. Lots and lots of antique shops- all with objects of museum quality in the windows. We checked out the estate agents: a two room apartment in this area could be yours for as little as a million quid. Where (and how) I wonder do all the service workers live?