King Charles unveils statue of his 'beloved' mother Queen Elizabeth

Man throws eggs at king and queen consort before he unveils statue at York Minster cathedral

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The first statue of Queen Elizabeth II since her death has been unveiled.

King Charles, accompanied by Queen Consort Camilla, unveiled the statue of his “beloved” mother.

Speaking at the ceremony at York Minster cathedral, the king said: “The late queen was always vigilant for the welfare of her people during her life.

“Now her image will watch over what will become Queen Elizabeth Square for centuries to come.”

The two-metre-tall sculpture weighing 1.1 tonnes and made from lepine limestone from France was designed to celebrate the late queen's platinum jubilee and was completed in August. Its unveiling, originally scheduled for September, was delayed due to her death.

There are statues of the queen riding a horse in Great Windsor Park which was dedicated in 2003, while a statue of her on one of her favourite horses, Burmese, was unveiled at the Royal Military Academy in Berkshire earlier this year. There are also statues of her in Lagos, Nigeria, and Winnipeg, Canada.

A man threw eggs in the direction of the royal party before the king unveiled the new statue, during a walkabout outside the York Minster.

None of the three eggs hit the royal couple and the man was quickly detained by police.

The incident did not knock King Charles and he went inside the York Minster.

The new statue sits in a niche at the front of the cathedral.

It shows the queen wearing garter robes and holding the orb and sceptre, symbols of authority.

King Charles was presented with a model of the statue after the service.

The stonemason who sculpted the statue said it was his first portrait piece.

Statue designer Richard Bossons. Reuters

Richard Bossons, 52, who has done caricatures or grotesques for cathedral gargoyles before, said there were some nerve-wracking moments during the sculpting.

"I hope everybody likes it," he said.

"It is the best I could pull out of myself. Hopefully I have done justice to the queen and the king likes it and I have done justice to the front of the building.

"I am hugely relieved and it will be nice now to go back to my bread-and-butter work."

The limestone was cut by machines to his design and then he spent six months refining it with his chisel.

Hundreds of people were outside the cathedral for the royal visit, including Emily Pickard.

“It's an amazing occasion,” she said. “It's not every day you get the king visiting your city. It's great to see such an amazing crowd.”

The queen, the longest reigning British monarch, died in September during her platinum year.

King Charles ascended to the throne the same day and will have a coronation ceremony next year.

Updated: November 09, 2022, 5:36 PM
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