New plans have been unveiled for a memorial to Elizabeth II in the centre of Regent’s Park, a year after her death.
Plans and sketches for the new memorial garden include a pergola, pond, flower garden and a nursery, to be landscaped on the site of a former plant nursery spanning two acres.
Regent’s Park already holds a rose garden dedicated to Queen Mary, set in the 410 acres of public parkland, which is located behind Baker Street in central London. The park was created in 1818 and named after the future George IV, whose initially came up with the idea of a central green space.
It is one of the eight royal parks of the capital, and home to London Zoo, which was born out of the menagerie at the Tower of London and making it the world’s oldest.
The site for the Elizabeth II garden once grew plants for the royal parks, but a 2018 nursery at Hyde Park plant rendered the this one superfluous.
Bringing the memorial to life will be wildlife-friendly and designed to ‘create a horticultural display’ that can be admired throughout the year, including plants that were significant to Elizabeth II’s life. In turn, this will boost local biodiversity thanks to the hedgerows, trees, meadows, wildlife-attracting plants and pond.
The central promenade of the park, used as a walking path at present, will be bisected by a path that leads the visitor through a series of different landscapes. The existing water tower is set to be transformed into a viewing platform and wildlife refuge, while a network of ‘informal’ paths will allow visitors to wander and explore further off the main path.
Her late Majesty’s dedication and service will be represented by the straight path that runs through the garden, with each end offering a moment of quiet reflection.
Demolition of the former plant nursery is due to take place in the spring of 2024, with construction expected to begin later next year.
The tribute to Elizabeth II, who was Britain’s longest-reigning Monarch, will be opened in 2026 to coincide with what would have been her 100th birthday.
Andrew Scattergood, CEO of The Royal Parks, said: ‘This garden is a unique opportunity to transform grey to green and return two acres of beautiful green space to central London.’
‘The garden’s design will deliver horticultural excellence, along with significant benefits to nature. It will be a tranquil and reflective garden, the antithesis to the hustle and bustle of the city, and we hope that people will come and spend some quiet time there, enjoying the natural landscape and the wonderful year-round colour that the garden will provide.’
Members of the public are encouraged to have their say on the proposed memorial garden here.