Lady Di and me.
I never met Lady Diana but our paths crossed so many times I always thought of her as someone I almost knew. When Diana met Charles she was living in an apartment block that I passed every day on my way to work. My home was 10 minutes’ drive from her apartment and my office was just a few minutes further on from where she lived. From the moment the paparazzi arrived the road was blocked with people. I changed my route to work.
Seeing the first photos I realised that she was the same girl I had seen in the Post Office a couple of days before and the same girl that had been driving a maroon coloured car and had politely waved me across the road in South Kensington. A couple of times I was stuck in traffic on Kensington High Street and she was in the next lane in her red Mercedes sports car. And then two or three times she was with the boys in the Da Mario pizza restaurant in Gloucester Road and I was there with my wife and our family. Some years later I would occasionally see her on my way to work. It was always on Kings Road and Lady Di was always driving a convertible Audi. Presumably, she was on her way home from the Harbour Club.
Despite big cities having a reputation for anonymity, it is not really true for the locals. I have lived in this area of London for 50 years and inevitably I see faces and cars that I know are local. In an average week, I will see thousands of people and cars and just occasionally it will trigger a moment of fleeting eye contact. It is a moment that says “I almost know you and you almost know me” you must be local.
The only times that I would have been able to talk to Lady Di was at Da Mario restaurant. But it would have been intrusive and invasive. As a Londoner, it is an unwritten rule that you respect the privacy of the many famous people that live amongst us. The only contact I ever had was a tiny nod of the head at Da Mario restaurant, it followed a fleeting moment of eye contact. “I almost knew Lady Di and she almost knew me”