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Princess Diana Memorial Fountain - Hyde Park
by Laura Walton

The Princess Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park has been unveiled by the Queen who was joined by Princes William and Harry as well as Diana's brother Earl Spencer at the opening ceremony this month.

Built close to Kensington Palace in the heart of London the fountain has been placed next to a children's play area also dedicated to Diana, who died in a car crash in 1997. It was paid for by the Princess Diana Memorial Fund, which also gives grants to those charities supported by Diana herself.

A large moat surrounding part of Hyde Park, the fountain is built with anti slip stone so that children can play in the water. Chief architect Kathryn Gustafson explained that the fountain represented Diana's life. "There are all sorts of fun things in the fountain that are turbulent and cascading down, and champagne bubbles, and total calm, and playful. There are many things about her personality that it hopes to acknowledge and memorialise."

Unusual, to say the least, this is a memorial without a statue and a fountain which doesn't even feature spurts of water, but is nonetheless is an impressive contemporary feature, covering a large area of the park and made with white Cornish granite. The architects behind the fountain decided that rather than create something to be stared at they wanted the memorial to be enjoyed by adults and children alike.

The 6.5 million structure has already become a bone of contention with many saying that it isn't a fitting memorial for the late Princess and others saying the money would have been put to better use in building a hospital or another institution in keeping with the causes supported by Diana. The fact that the memorial flooded in a rain storm the day after it was unveiled has not gone any way to silencing critics either.

Family and friends have expressed the opinion that the memorial would have been appreciated by the Princess with the Queen telling onlookers. "I think Diana would have enjoyed it and I believe that she would want all of us to do so too."


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