A national memorial in honor of Britain’s late Queen Mother was unveiled near Buckingham Palace on Tuesday near a statue of her husband King George VI.
Queen Elizabeth II, performed the unveiling. Prince Charles and his sons Princes William and Prince Harry were among senior members of the Royal Family who attended the ceremony yesterday 24th Feb, 2009 on the Mall in London.
The 9ft 6in bronze statue, created by sculptor Philip Jackson, shows the Queen Mother dressed in opulent velvet robes, signifying her place in the Order of the Garter, Britain’s oldest and highest chivalric order.
The statues show the former king and his queen at the same age and are mounted on plinths simply inscribed with their names and the years they lived.
It was a day filled with emotion and elegance in equal measure. Hundreds of onlookers watched as the queen sharply tugged a cord and brought the royal purple tarp down from the bronze.
In his speech Prince Charles, the driving force behind the £2 million memorial, paid tribute to the woman he described as “my darling grandmother”. He said: “All of us will miss her vitality, her interest in the lives of others, her unbounded courage and determination… her steadfast belief in the British people and her irresistible, irrepressible sense of mischievous humour.”
Scenes shown include the Queen Mother during WWII when she earned the love and admiration of Britain by refusing to leave London with her children. Other friezes depict her at the races at Ascot and relaxing in her garden at the Castle of Mey in Caithness with two of her corgis.
A special five pound coin produced by the Royal Mint to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 80th birthday helped to fund the project.
The Queen Mother died in March 2002, aged 101. More than 200,000 people queued to pay their respects while her coffin lay in state in Westminster.