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Retrace Princess Diana’s footsteps at her favourite London restaurants

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Megan Murray
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On the 21st anniversary of her death, we take a look at some of Princess Diana’s favourite places in the city she called home. 

Princess Diana remains one of the most fascinating figures of modern history. She was so many things at once: a global ambassador of human rights famed for her charity work, a royal figure constantly in the public eye, a mother with two sons weighted with enormous pressure and, of course, just a young woman who loved to go out and dance, dine and have fun with her many friends.

Arguably, it’s this secret life that grips people the most. After all, imagining the evenings spent in her favourite London haunts gives a glimpse into the life of the real Diana, away from the formalities of her royal position.

And being the fabulous woman that she was, it’s no surprise to learn that her favoured restaurants and bars are the crème of the capital’s crop.

Princess Diana and Liza Minnelli 

As we reflect on the 21st anniversary of Diana’s death, Stylist retraces her steps around the city by taking a look at some of her favourite restaurants in London. 

Hotel Café Royal 

This plush hotel on Regent’s Street is home to not only a selection of luxurious rooms, but also a gold-gilded afternoon tea parlour, a French brasserie, a vibrant bar and a fine-dining restaurant.

The hotel’s glittering past is filled with the names of film stars, models and politicians. Among women including Virginia Woolf, Brigitte Bardot and Elizabeth Taylor, Hotel Café Royal lists Princess Diana as one of the famous faces who has frequented its doors throughout the years.

Diana is said to have often taken lunch at the hotel, which was established by a Parisian couple who fled bankruptcy in France in 1863, to start a new business in London.

We recommend treating yourself to afternoon tea in the Oscar Wilde room. With floor-to-ceiling golden walls, cherub murals and a fresh flower arch, it’s the perfect place to dine like a royal.  

Make a reservation here.

Bombay Brasserie 

Comedian and actor Cleo Rocos was good friends with Diana and has occasionally opened up about the time they spent together going out in London. Revealing that the Princess would often pick places “around the corner from the Palace” to “sneak out to” and meet her friends, Rocos recalls drinking peach bellinis with Diana, Kenny Everett and Freddie Mercury at the Bombay Brassarie in an interview with The Independent.

Moments from Gloucester Road underground station on Courtfield Road, the restaurant serves up food inspired by the thriving cosmopolitan, multi-cultural city of Bombay, and offers both a la carte and tasting menus. The richly detailed décor reflects the affluence of its Kensington surroundings: think wood panelled walls, golden light fittings and deep, jewel green leather sofas. 

Make a reservation here.

Launceston Place 

It’s generally acknowledged that Princess Diana was a regular at Launceston Place, thanks to its West London location and small, private dining areas.

This modern-European restaurant has always been known for its delicious and flamboyant menu, but this fact was reinforced when it was awarded with two AA Rosettes in 2017, making it as much a must-visit place now, as it was then.

It’s elegant décor and sophisticated atmosphere feel true to the kind of place we would imagine Diana dined out in, and its buzzy location means there’s plenty of options to go for a post-dinner tipple.

Make a reservation here

San Lorenzo

It seems that visiting restaurants with a bit of history behind them was a trope of Princess Diana’s. San Lorenzo is an authentic Italian in Belgravia that was opened in 1963 by husband and wife team, Lorenzo and Mara Berni. They opted for an uncomplicated menu with influences from Tuscany and Rome, which proved to be an instant hit with the locals, including Diana.

It’s reported that she brought her sons to the restaurant to have dinner when they were younger, and the restaurant is known for having a long list of other celebrity diners, including Sophia Loren and Joan Collins. The owners are said to be the confidants of their long-standing A-list clientele, which may explain why Diana reportedly felt so comfortable being there.

Make a reservation here.

L’Escargot

L’Escargot, the oldest French restaurant in London, is another spot that claims to have opened its doors to the Princess of Wales. 

For nearly a century it has held its prestigious position in the heart of Soho, and has gathered quite the reputation. Known for its romantic atmosphere and rich, classically French dishes, the restaurant is a must-visit venue even without its glittering past.

L’Escargot is proud to count Coco Chanel and Judy Dench as patrons, as well as, of course, Diana. 

Make a reservation here

Images: Getty

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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