Out & About: Queen Alexandra Memorial
The memorial to Queen Alexandra of Denmark can be found on Marlborough Road, London SW1A 1BG
The memorial, executed by Sir Alfred Gilbert between 1926 and 1932, is a commemoration to Queen Alexandra of Denmark. Set into the garden wall of Marlborough House, it was regarded by the sculptor as his “Swan Song”.
The symbolism of the central sculptural group is explained by Gilbert in an “exegesis” he prepared in 1927:
Central Group—represents “Love Enthroned”, supported by Faith and Hope, on either side, and Love is directing a Boy sent out across the “River of Life”, which springs from beneath Her Throne—symbolizing Queen Alexandra’s charity to Children, also the water typifies Her advent to Great Britain from across the water.
The two main inscriptions read:
QUEEN ALEXANDRA/ 1844 A TRIBUTE TO THE EMPIRE’S LOVE 1925 and FAITH, HOPE, LOVE./ THE GUIDING VIRTUES OF QUEEN ALEXANDRA.
Another inscription at the side of the bronze base reads A. B. BURTON. FOUNDER.
King George V, unveiled the memorial on 8 June 1932 and was blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Gordon Lang, and the choir of the Chapel Royal gave the first performance of Queen Alexandra’s Memorial Ode, which had been composed for the occasion by the Master of the King’s Music, Sir Edward Elgar, with lyrics by the Poet Laureate, John Masefield. On the following day, Gilbert received his knighthood from the King at Buckingham Palace.
Dying in November 1934, the memorial was to be Gilbert’s last completed public artwork.