Kent

Canterbury Cathedral statues honour Queen and Duke

Statues of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Canterbury Cathedral Image copyright PA
Image caption The sculptures capture the royal couple looking more youthful and wearing garter robes

The Queen has unveiled statues of herself and the Duke of Edinburgh at Canterbury Cathedral to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

The statues, by sculptor Nina Bilbey, are the first to be installed there during the Queen's reign.

They complement existing statues by the cathedral's West Door of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria - the only other monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee.

The Dean of Canterbury Cathedral said they were "a splendid addition".

The Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis added: "They will be a sign of the high respect and affection that everyone at Canterbury has for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Dean of Canterbury Cathedral said the statues showed high respect and affection for the couple

The sculptures by Ms Bilbey, 47, from Wells-next-the-Sea, in Norfolk, were commissioned by the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral.

She did not have any formal sittings with the royal couple but instead based her work on formal portraits and "lots of pictures".

She said the statues took six months to carve.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Nina Bilbey said the statues took six months to carve

The Queen was accompanied on her visit to Kent by the Duke.

Earlier, they met some of the last surviving Battle of Britain pilots from World War Two during a visit to the National Memorial to the Few in Capel-le-Ferne, near Folkestone.

However, a flypast of a Hurricane, Spitfire and Typhoon which was due to take place over the English Channel had to be cancelled due to thick fog.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Queen chatted to a number of veterans and dignitaries

The Queen opened a new £3.5m visitor centre built in the shape of a Spitfire wing.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Queen officially opened the visitor centre

The National Memorial was unveiled by the Queen Mother in July 1993.

The statue shows a seated pilot looking out over the English Channel at the centre of a white propeller.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Many school children braved the elements while they waited to greet Her Majesty
Image copyright The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust
Image caption The statue shows a seated pilot looking out over the English Channel at the centre of a white propeller

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