Dezeen Magazine

Green park with people walking and red London buses

Proposal revealed for public Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Garden at Buckingham Palace

Writer Stefan Simanowitz and architect Antonio Pisanò are proposing a memorial garden for Queen Elizabeth II that would see part of the Buckingham Palace Garden converted into a "natural sanctuary" for the public.

The duo is part of a team that proposes that a piece of land alongside the busy Grosvenor Place road in central London is converted from the Buckingham Palace Garden into the Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Gardens.

Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on 8 September, lived in private quarters in Buckingham Palace. Its garden is currently only open to the public as part of paid-for guided tours.

Visual of suggested memorial park for Queen Elizabeth II
The garden would be located along Grosvenor Place

The proposed memorial garden would "turn a strip of London which is one of the most unprepossessing, most polluted parts of London into a kind of natural sanctuary, where people can have a place for tranquility," Buckingham Palace Park Project founder Simanovitz told Dezeen.

While the existing perimeter wall would be retained under the proposal, Simanowitz and Pisanò suggest opening up additional arches.

A new, high-security fence would cordon off the memorial gardens from the rest of Buckingham Palace Garden, though the exact dimensions and final content of the garden haven't yet been determined.

Visitors in London park with grass and trees
It would have a meadow-like feel

"Our vision is to have a place which will reflect Her Majesty’s love of nature and try and capture it in a beautiful walled garden, carved from just a sliver of the 42-acre Buckingham Palace Gardens," Pisanò said.

"It will be an act of care towards London and its unique, fragile yet resilient ecosystem."

Illustration of London park by Buckingham Palace
Arches would open the space up towards the street

While the proposal would leave the existing trees undisturbed, it suggests planting wildflowers and other plants from all over the British Isles to create a meadow-like garden that would also function as a natural playground for children.

Queen Elizabeth II already has a park named after her, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, but the new proposal wouldn't be "just another park," Simanowitz said.

"In terms of what you want for a memorial, having a place close to where the Queen lived, a place where she would have actually walked and enjoyed herself – because there is such an outpouring of grief, the idea of coming to a place that she loved would be very powerful," Simanowitz said.

"I think while it could be seen as just another park, giving it the name Memorial Garden and asking people to turn off their phones, making people think about what the Queen meant to them and about loss and love, would help them connect with those powerful things in a beautiful park in central London," he added.

Park with grass and colourful trees
The memorial park would be open to the public

The Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Gardens is currently just a proposal and does not yet have funding, but if it is given consent to go ahead by the palace, Simanowitz is confident that funds could be found either from the government or via crowdfunding.

The writer first proposed the park to the Royal Household in 2015 and received a reply from the assistant private secretary to the then Prince Charles – now King Charles III – who said the Prince was interested to learn of the idea.

Simanowitz shifted the proposal, which did not go further at the time, to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022 and it has now evolved into the Memorial Gardens proposal.

Red London bus outside green park with trees
The Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Gardens would be a "natural sanctuary"

The team behind the Buckingham Palace Park Project says it is "hopeful" that King Charles III will champion the proposal, "given his ecological and environmental credentials and his commitment to sustainable approaches to planning."

King Charles III has a history of taking an interest in architectural projects in London, which has led to the cancellation of modernist projects in the city. He has also backed the development of more traditional towns, including Poundbury, the design of which he controlled.

Queen Elizabeth II was the UK monarch for 70 years, the longest in British history. She was involved in the opening of a number of significant buildings during her time on the throne.