“London was so rich, and also so green, and somehow so detailed: full of stuff that had been made, and bought, and placed, and groomed, and shaped, and washed clean, and put on display as if the whole city was for sale.”
― John Lanchester, Capital
Regent’s Park is the brainchild of George the Prince Regent, later George IV, but the land on which it sits had been in royal hands since Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and snapped up the property for himself. As he was wont to do.
George (who it must be said is being hilariously downplayed in the poster campaigns around the city as a number of exhibitions and events celebrate the 300th anniversary of the rise of the house of Hanover) was pretty useless as a regent and monarch. In fact he consistently ranks down among the worst king in British history in the sorts of polls that historians run. Corpulent, lazy, unimpressive, and obnoxious, we nevertheless still need to thank him since a number of his building projects helped create London as we know it today.
That’s not snow on the ground, it’s a natural carpet of daisies. I know, right?!
A flock of herons (which I’ve never seen associating in a group before) flirted with tourists and followed likely looking crumb droppers, looking for the world like a pack of spindly dinosaurs.
This garden was cordoned off. But I saw enough people meandering through it anyway that I hopped the barrier and joined them for a close up of a fountain of a frog spitting at a child. Which clearly is a lot more charming than it sounds on paper.
So, thanks George IV! We’re still iffy enough about you 200 years down the road to awkwardly disregard you on signage, but frankly you helped make London gorgeous. For that, we thank you.
You were still a terrible king, a bad father, and a truly hideous husband.