A statue of the Queen is to be erected on Trafalgar Square's famous (or infamous) fourth plinth after her death.

The fourth plinth was erected in 1841 - around the time Nelson's Column was built - and has been empty for 150 years, apart from the odd temporary statue.

There have been debates over the years about whose statue should occupy it.

Queen Elizabeth II is very popular amongst the British people. She is Britain's oldest-reigning monarch in history and only Queen Victoria has reigned longer...

National memorial to the Queen to fill Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth after her death

By Rebecca English
07th August 2008
Daily Mail

A statue of the Queen is to be erected on the infamous fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square when she dies, it has been revealed.

The pedestal, which has been used to showcase the work of modern artists in recent years, has been earmarked for a national monument which will be commissioned after her death.

Sources say the secret project sheds new light on why the plinth has never had a full-time occupant.

The current occupant of the fourth plinth is this coloured glass sculpture by Thomas Schütte, a leading German artist

Erected in 1841 and originally intended for an equestrian statue of William IV, it actually lay empty for more than 150 years.

In the mid-1990s, however, a plan was devised to use it to display modern sculpture and a committee was established to choose artists deemed worthy of it.

Its members now include Ekow Eshun, artistic director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Grayson Perry, the transvestite potter, and Jon Snow, the broadcaster.

Some of their choices have raised eyebrows including Ecce Homo, a depection of a Christ-like figure; a transparent cast of the plinth on top of the original by Rachel Whiteread; and Alison Lapper Pregnant, a statue of a naked disabled woman by Marc Quinn.

The current occupant is an architectural model of a building made of specially engineered coloured glass by German artist Thomas Schütte called Model For A Hotel 2007.

Queen Elizabeth II pictured during an early morning horse ride in the grounds of Windsor Castle, Berkshire

The Department of Culture proposals are believed to be have been discussed between Downing Street, Buckingham Palace and the London authorities.

The favoured option is to feature a statue of the Queen riding. 'The plinth is wide enough and perfectly shaped for Her Majesty on horseback,' said City Hall source.

The plan may go some way to explaining why the former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and his successor, Boris Johnson, have both shied away from committing to a permanent monument on the plinth, which is situated in the north-west corner of Trafalgar Square by Nelson's Column.

Early photo of the construction of Nelson's Column in the brand new Trafalgar Square in central London, 1843 to celebrate Nelson's victory against Napoleon at Trafalgar

Although the Queen has been painted by a variety of artists, the only statue of her in the UK is in Windsor Great Park.

It was produced to mark her Golden Jubilee and was unveiled by the monarch herself.

The other three more traditional, bronze states on Trafalgar Square are of General Sir Charles James Napier, Major General Sir Henry Havelock and King George IV.

The Hon Margaret Rhodes, one of the Queen's oldest friends who was also a lady-in-waiting to the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, told the Mail that she welcomed the idea of a monument to the Queen in theory but questioned whether Trafalgar Square was the best place for it.

'I believe a memorial in London would be a good thing because the Queen has been such an inspirational head of state,' she said.

'Personally, however, I would like to see a statue of Her Majesty situated on its own, as opposed to just one of a group, and placed somewhere a little more appropriate.'

Other royal sources suggested that it would be more fitting to unveil a moment to the monarch while she were still alive.

She is a hugely respected figure already,' said one.

A GLA spokesman said: 'We will not enter into speculation about the long term future of the Fourth Plinth, but the GLA is concerned with managing the successful rolling programme of contemporary art and recently announced the next two works.'

A £2 million project is also underway to erect a bronze memorial to mark the life of the late Queen Mother beneath the statue of her husband, King George VI, off The Mall in Central London.

It was due to be unveiled this summer but Buckingham Palace said today the project had been delayed and it was more likely to be unveiled at the end of the year.

The sculptor, Philip Jackson, will portray the much-loved former Queen in her younger days.

It has been approved by The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.

Last edited by Blackleaf; Aug 7th, 2008 at 11:04 AM..