Queen Anne

Queen Anne was the ruling monarch when St Paul’s was built in 1710. The original, sculpted by Francis Bird in 1712, was much weather-beaten and was replaced with this replica in 1886. The figures on the base represent England, Ireland, France and North America – all of which she laid claim to.

St Paul’s Cathedral EC4
Tube: St Paul’s

Queen Anne

Queen Anne united England and Scotland by force and hence is the first ruler of Great Britain. Her ghost is said to walk three times around this street on the anniversary of her death: July 31. The street dates from 1704 and the statue – a copy of the original at St Paul’s – is mentioned in papers of the time.

Queen Anne’s Gate SW1
Tube: St James’s Park

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 George III

‘Mad’ King George ruled for nearly 60 years, losing America along the way. This bronze by Matthew Cotes Wyatt (1777-1862), erected in 1836, made the sculptor’s reputation. The fine horse led to a commission for a gigantic mounted Duke of Wellington for Constitution Arch - later moved to Aldershot.

Trafalgar Square WC2
Tube: Charing Cross

King George IV

Look again at this flattering statue by Francis Chantrey of King George IV and you’ll see he has no stirrups. The king was obese – he was called the Prince of Whales – partly due to an addiction to alcohol and laudanum. He started the fashion of wearing trousers, rather than tight breeches, to hide his weight.

Trafalgar Square WC2
Tube: Charing Cross

King William III

When Germany’s Kaiser William II was erecting a statue in Berlin of William III (1659-1702), he offered a copy to his uncle King Edward VII. The statue by Heinrich Baucke was put up here in 1907 – and a bill for £153.16s.9d sent to Germany to cover costs. He is the ‘King Billy’ of Ulster mythology.

Kensington Palace W8
Tube: Kensington High Street

King William III

In 1702, William III’s horse tripped over a molehill and the king broke his collarbone. Recovering at St James’s Palace, he caught a chill and died. Jacobites toasted ‘the little gentleman in black velvet’. You can see the molehill by the horse’s rear legs on this statue of 1800 by John Bacon Jr.

St James’s Square SW1
Tube: Green Park

King Edward VII

Victoria’s son is the man the Edwardian era – and King Edward cigars – are named after. He died in 1910, four years before his nephew King Wilhelm II led Germany into World War I. Edward started many fashions, from roast beef on Sundays to black tie with tails. Note the WWII bomb damage to his plinth.

Waterloo Place SW1
Tube: Charing Cross

Queen Victoria

There are many statues of Queen Victoria but most show her in later life. This, sculpted by her daughter Louise to mark 50 years of rule, shows her as a younger woman on her accession in 1837. Princess Louise, a talented artist, died in 1939, at the age of 91.

Kensington Gardens W8
Tube: High Street Kensington

King George VI

Taking over as king in 1936 when his brother Edward VIII abdicated, George was ruler on the outbreak of WWII. A shy man, he was the last Emperor of India and the last King of Ireland. He died of a heart attack in 1952. This statue shows him in the Garter robes with his wife who died in 2002, aged 102.

Carlton Gardens SW1
Tube: Charing Cross


King James II

James II of England (James VII of Scotland) was the last Roman Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland. Deposed in 1688,  he died in France in 1701. This sculpture of 1686 in front of the National Gallery is attributed to Grinling Gibbons, better known as England’s greatest woodcarver.

Trafalgar Square WC2
Tube: Charing Cross