New Queen Elizabeth II statue unveiled on what would have been her 98th birthday

 Queen Elizabeth II stands on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following the Platinum Pageant.
Queen Elizabeth II stands on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following the Platinum Pageant.

Today marks what would have been Queen Elizabeth II's 98th birthday, and to mark the occasion, a new statue of her surrounded by her beloved corgis has been unveiled in Rutland's county town of Oakham. 

The statue is the first to be commissioned since her death in September 2022, and is set to be a permanent fixture paying tribute to the United Kingdom's longest reigning monarch. The 7ft (2.1m) bronze statue features a somewhat younger Queen Elizabeth II in her crown and what appears to be robes of the Order of the Thistle, surrounded by four adoring corgis.

On display outside Oakham Library, the artwork was commissioned by the Lord-Lieutenant of Rutland, Dr. Sarah Furness, told Oakham Nub News it was in response to the "depth of loss felt in Rutland on the late Queen's death".

Dr Furness continued, "On what would have been the late Queen's 98th birthday, today is an opportunity for the children and people of Rutland and the wider country to celebrate this tribute to Britain's longest reigning and possibly greatest monarch.

"The response to HM Queen Elizabeth's death in 2022 was extraordinary. Tributes poured in from residents all over Rutland expressing their sense of loss and respect for such an extraordinary woman and monarch. People felt personally bereaved and Rutland's loyalty to our late Queen is beyond doubt."

While the people of Rutland celebrate the late Queen's birthday, it is thought the royal family will do the same, but privately this year. Grant Harrold, a former royal butler to King Charles, told People, "They won't publicly do anything. Privately, I have no doubt they'll raise a toast to her in the evening. I'm sure the day will very much be spent reflecting on the late Queen."

Sarah Ferguson took to Instagram earlier today to pay tribute to her former mother-in-law, commenting, "Thank you for all you have taught us, for being a steadfast leader and dear friend. You are sorely missed."