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Statue of the Queen unveiled to mark Magna Carta milestone

The Queen's statue was unveiled at a ceremony in Runnymede, Surrey. Credit: Neil Lancefield/PA Wire

A statue of the Queen has been unveiled to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta.

The ceremony took place in Runnymede, Surrey, where King John accepted the historic document that limited the power of the Crown on 15, June, 1215.

The four-metre high bronze statue shows the Queen in full garter robes and takes its inspiration from portraits taken of her in 1954 and 1969.

Mayor of Runnymede Derek Cotty, Philip Hammond, John Bercow and Daniel Hannan MEP. Credit: Neil Lancefield/PA Wire

The artwork was unveiled at Runnymede Pleasure Grounds close to the River Thames by Commons Speaker John Bercow.

He struggled to remove the statue's blue cover and a band cut short its musical accompaniment until the sculpture - created by James Butler - was fully uncovered.

Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary and MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, said the Queen was the "ultimate refinement" of constitutional monarchy.

Hammond told the invited guests:

It struck me this morning that there might, to some people, appear to be something slightly incongruous in celebrating the 800th anniversary of the curtailing of the power of the monarch by unveiling a statue of the monarch.

Not at all. Because while John represented arguably the worst of monarchy, Queen Elizabeth II represents undoubtedly the best of monarchy.

While John exercised arbitrary power, Queen Elizabeth is the embodiment of the laws that protect our rights.

She represents the ultimate refinement of the principle of constitutional monarchy that has served the UK so well.

– Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

Bercow said the sealing of the Magna Carta provided the "bedrock of so much we have come subsequently to honour and to cherish".

It was a day for anyone who believes in the rights of citizens and the importance of representative democracy to count their blessings, he added.

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