Discovery - - DISCOVERIES - Mark Jones Editorial director

THIS MONTH WE look at what’s changed in central London 20 years after one of its most famous inhabitants, Diana, Princess of Wales, died. You’ll have to read Sophie Campbell’s article on page 50 for the long answer. The short one is: everything and nothing.

Physically, the prime residential areas of Kensington and Knightsbridge are pretty much unchanged: the same handsome Victorian red brick terraces interspersed with elegant Georgian squares and the occasional, very occasional, modernist development. It’s the people living there who are different. In Diana’s day, her upper middle class chums (the so- called Sloane Rangers), dominated the place, as they had for decades and decades. They’ve now cashed in and moved on, replaced by affluent ‘New Londoners’ – who aren’t from London, or even the UK, at all.

Before anyone feels too sorry for those old posh Londoners remember that, a) they’ve made a huge profit, and, b) they’ve been cheerfully pricing locals out of their own areas in the rest of the UK for years. And if central London has become ever ritzier and pricier, it’s also become a far cleaner and more pleasant place to wander around.

Meanwhile, that upper middle class money has flown into far-flung and previously exotic postcodes all over London. It’s called evolution. It’s what cities do.

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