There may be a shortage of statues to women in London, but there is always an exception for Queens. In fact, Queen Anne has two and Queen Boudica - who burnt the city down - merits a place of honour opposite the Houses of Parliament. Queen Victoria has dozens.

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

Kings & Queens 1 2

King Henry VIII

St Bartholomew's Hospital was part of a priory but, when King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in the 1530s, Barts was spared. The king’s gesture is marked by this likeness of him over one of the hospital gates: the only outdoor statue of him in London.

West Smithfield EC1
Tube: Barbican/St Paul’s

Queen Elizabeth I

The daughter of King Henry VIII is commemorated by this figure in a niche high on the outside of St Dunstan-in-the-West church. Moved here from Ludgate Hill, it survived the Great Fire of 1666 and, dating from 1586, is the only one of her known to have been carved during her reign.

186a Fleet Street EC4
Tube: Temple/Blackfriars

King Alfred The Great

Thought to be the oldest free-standing statue in London, heavily restored through the centuries, this portrait of (what is thought to be) Alfred The Great was moved here in 1822 from Westminster. Alfred became king in 871. He united England, founded St Paul’s, rebuilt London’s walls and drove off the Vikings.

Trinity Church Square SE1
Tube: Borough

King Volodymyr

King Volodymyr (Vladimir) ruled parts of Ukraine from 980-1015 and forcibly converted Kiev to Christianity in 988, leading to a flowering of literacy. This statue, by  Leonard Molodozhanyn, shows him as a saint. It was erected in 1988 by the Ukrainian Community in the UK and is by Leonard Moll.

Holland Park Avenue W11
Tube: Holland Park

Charles I

This statue of Charles I – showing him a foot taller than he was – was sold for scrap by the Parliamentarians after the English Civil war but was found intact after Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660. Designed by Le Seur with a pedestal carved by Joshua Marshall, it was first erected in 1633.

Trafalgar Square WC2
Tube: Charing Cross

Mary Queen of Scots

Briefly Queen of France, in 1559, Mary ruled Scotland from 1542-1567. Following an uprising, she fled to England, putting herself under the protection of her cousin, Elizabeth I. Her Catholicism, and claim to the English throne, made her a target for plots and she was beheaded for treason in 1587.

186a Fleet Street EC4
Tube: Temple/Blackfriars

Richard I

King Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199) spent most of his reign away on The Crusades but was still popular. This wonderful statue by Carlo Marocchetti was first cast in clay for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and a bronze copy paid for in 1860 by public subscription. The sword was bent by a WWII bomb.

Parliament Square SW1
Tube: Westminster


Queen Boadicea

Boudica (in modern spelling) was a queen of the Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the Roman Empire in AD61 and razed London. Ironically, her myth grew at the height of the British Empire – during the reign of Queen Victoria – with this statue by Thomas Thornycroft erected in 1905. Note her chariot has no reins.

Westminster Bridge WC2
Tube: Westminster