November 02, 2022 2 min read
On Wednesday November 9th, York welcomed King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, to unveil a statue of Queen Elizabeth II, a new addition to the 800 year-old West Front of York Minster. The statue, marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and paying tribute to her service and duty to her country, sits in a niche beneath the Heart of Yorkshire window.
The King and The Queen Consort were first welcomed at a historic ceremony at Micklegate Bar, where the Monarch traditionally enters the city of York. In the centuries-old ceremony, the Lord Mayor invited the King to approach the ceremonial Sigismund Sword, which was originally owned by an Emperor of Bohemia and was presented to York in 1437. The ancient sword bears the Royal Arms on one side of the blade and the Arms of York on the other. The King touched the sword and confirmed that it belongs to the city. The Lord Mayor then escorted the royals into York through the gateway.
After their traditional entrance into York, their Majesties arrived at York Minster for a short prayer service, heralded by the Minster bells, and were welcomed by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, before the King unveiled the statue of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
The statue has been carved by one of York Minster's resident masons, Richard Bossons. An expert stone mason, Richard has been a member of York Minster’s renowned Stoneyard team since 2011. Richard’s design depicts the late Sovereign in her Garter robes with the orb and sceptre, the symbols of her office as Head of Church and State, and wearing the George IV State Diadem. The late Queen herself chose the final design of the statue, which is carved out of Lepine stone - the French stone that has previously been used for figurative carvings on the Minster, as well as the restoration of the Heart of Yorkshire Window in 2000.
The statue is two metres tall and weighs nearly two tonnes and has been placed in an empty niche on the West Front of York Minster, under the famous Heart of Yorkshire window. Her Majesty’s gaze is aligned across the proposed Queen Elizabeth Square, the principal approach to York Minster, to welcome worshippers and visitors alike.
Princess Anne, saw work on the statue in progress when she visited York in May 2022.
Towering over the city of York, the central motif of the stunning Great West Window is an intricate heart design, carved by master masons eight hundred years ago. The addition of the new statue of Queen Elizabeth II will combine new with old whilst continuing to celebrate the traditional craft and skill of York Minster stone masonary.
The Heart of Yorkshire jewellery collection celebrates the Minster's West Window, as one of the city's most iconic landmarks. The flowing lines of romantic stonework tracery seen on the Great West Window are recreated in sterling silver and 9ct gold.