Royal appointment for Leeds’s famous golden owl

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A gift given to Her Majesty The Queen on behalf of the city of Leeds as part of a visit to mark the Golden Jubilee 2002 celebrations, is now featuring in a prestigious display.

Visitors to this year’s Buckingham Palace Royal Gifts summer exhibition will have the chance to see the gilt model of an owl, which famously features in Leeds’ coat of arms, and was designed by civic architect John Thorp.

The owl is a smaller version of the near three metre models that proudly sit outside Leeds Civic Hall and which were commissioned by the city to celebrate the Millennium.

Curated by the Royal Collection Trust, the Buckingham Palace Royal Gifts exhibition displays a range of offerings given to Her Majesty during the past 65 years.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jane Dowson said: “A visit by Her Majesty The Queen to Leeds is always a truly wonderful occasion that lives long in the memory. It is brilliant therefore to see a gift which was given to Her Majesty as part of the Golden Jubilee 2002 celebrations, now featuring in the Buckingham Palace Royal Gifts exhibition.

“It makes us very proud to know that our city is included in this exhibition, which will be viewed by people from countries right across the world.”

Civic architect John Thorp, said: “I am really pleased firstly for the city that this gilt model of an owl which is a real symbol of Leeds, has been selected to feature in the Buckingham Palace Royal Gifts summer exhibition.

“I know from speaking to the team at the Royal Collection Trust around the design of the owl, the painstaking work that they have undertaken to ensure all the details are correct for the catalogue of exhibits. It does therefore make us feel proud that not only have they recorded fully the details of the piece for the Royal Collection, but that also they have decided to put it on display to the public this year.”

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