THE EARL of Wessex visited Hampshire this week to unveil a specially-commissioned tribute to the “remarkable reign” of his mother.

The huge bronze sculpture – to be housed in Winchester’s Great Hall – was commissioned by Hampshire Lord Lieutenant, Dame Mary Fagan to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Dame Mary, civic leaders, sculptor Vivien Mallock, and other invited guests were present for Tuesday’s unveiling by Prince Edward.

The Earl of Wessex said: “It is indeed a great honour to be standing here and to be doing this. All of you here represent what is best about Hampshire.

“This is a memento not just of this extraordinary year, but of this extraordinary reign.”

The work is a bas-relief portrait of The Queen set in bronze, with the Hampshire Rose forming a frame around her face.

Dame Mary said: “I am thrilled with the bronze. Vivien really has created something very special and it will be a lasting tribute to The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.”

Measuring 6ft in diameter and weighing 165kg, it took the Hampshire sculptor about eight months to complete. And Mrs Mallock said the work presented some unique challenges.

“This was more difficult than my other work because of the size. It’s absolutely vast,” she said. “The Queen also said she wouldn’t sit for anyone during her jubilee year. So I worked from photographs from the Royal Mint.”

There were more than 100 people at the hall. They were welcomed by Hampshire County Council’s leader Councillor Ken Thornber.

Cllr Thornber said: “This hall is rich in the his-tory of our early monarchs. That history will today be enriched by the unveiling of the bronze sculpture of our truly remarkable Queen.”