Queen unveils statue of herself in South Australia - with the help of technology

March 01, 2021

The Queen has unveiled a statue of herself in Australia, despite being thousands of miles away in Windsor Castle.

The 94-year-old has continued her work virtually during the coronavirus pandemic, like many of those in her family.

But after almost 70 years on the throne she was able to joke about the technology that has allowed her to unveil a statue virtually for the first time.

In a video call with the governor of South Australia Hieu Van Le and the state's premier Steven Marshall, she said: "I would think possibly it might be quite alarming to suddenly see it out of the window - you'd think, gracious, has she arrived unexpectedly?"

The sculpture depicts the monarch in a coat and hat carrying her trademark Launer handbag and it sits in the grounds of Government House in Adelaide, South Australia.

When told it had become the most popular place for people to take photographs, the Queen chuckled and said: "Oh really?"

Mr Le said: "They feel very close to you through standing in front of the statue."

Sculptor Robert Hannaford also presented the Queen with a "maquette", a scale model of the statue, which will be sent as a memento.

The Queen remarked: "That's very kind. I'm glad it's not quite as big as the original statue."

At the start of the call, the Queen had joked about what time of day it was in Australia.

"Good morning," she said. "Well that's good morning to me. It looks... I don't know what time of day it is to you."

She was also briefed on other developments in South Australia, including the early stages of the vaccine programme, the response to COVID-19 and the lifting of restrictions.

She also heard about the region's recovery from drought and bushfires.

The video call took place on Wednesday last week but it was released by Buckingham Palace on Monday, the same day the Duke of Edinburgh was moved from King Edward VII's hospital to St Bartholomew's.

Philip, 99, has been in hospital for almost two weeks and will undergo testing and observation for a pre-existing heart condition.

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