The King has unveiled the first statue of Queen Elizabeth II since her death, describing it as “a tribute to a life of extraordinary service.”  

The 7ft-tall statue, designed and carved by Richard Bossons, a cathedral stonemason, was originally commissioned to mark the Platinum Jubilee. It stands at the entrance to York Minster and will eventually stand in a new public square.

What the statue depicts’

The statue depicts a “mature” Queen Elizabeth dressed in her Order of the Garter Robes and wearing the George IV diadem traditionally used for the State Opening of Parliament. Charles III said he and his wife, the Queen Consort, were “deeply touched” to have been asked to unveil the statue.

King Charles III Statement

“When this statue was first planned five years ago, during a reign of unprecedented duration and achievement, it was intended as a celebration of the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee,”

“Now, as we have witnessed, with great sadness, the passing of that reign, it is unveiled in her memory, as a tribute to a life of extraordinary service and devotion.”

“The late Queen was always vigilant for the welfare of her people during her life,” he added.

“Now, her image will watch over what will become Queen Elizabeth Square for centuries to come – a constant example of the duty and care for others, and for our community, which is the calling and the duty we all share.”

Archbishop of York – the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell

Speaking after the ceremony, the Archbishop of York – the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell – said since Queen Elizabeth’s death, the statue now has added poignancy.

Joking about the torrential rain as the statue was unveiled, he added: “We did a bit of a double act – he [the King] unveiled the statue and I blessed the statue, and of course The Lord provided a heavenly sprinkling from above. What could be better?”

Mr Bossons acknowledged that the various depictions of the late Queen over the years had “been a bit hit and miss”.

He added: “I wanted to get a sense of her longevity on the throne over 70 years, but a more mature upright figure, so I have softened her features over the process.

“I spoke to King Charles, which was particularly wonderful for me as he has been such an advocate for traditional arts and crafts over the years. It was a very special moment to see him unveil the statue, it hasn’t really sunk in yet.

“I hope everybody likes it. 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.”

Mr Bossons said there were some nerve-wracking moments during the sculpting, which involved a three-tonne piece of Lepine limestone being cut by machines to his design and six months’ work with his chisel to refine the stone.

He said: “I am hugely relieved and it will be nice now to go back to my bread-and-butter work.”