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Queen unveils Jubilee monument

The Queen was just a stone's throw away from her favourite residence to inaugurate a Diamond Jubilee monument designed by a teenage schoolgirl.

The statue, which features 60 spheres representing each year of the Queen's reign, was unveiled at King Edward Court shopping centre in the shadow of Windsor Castle.

It took Caroline Basra, a 15-year-old pupil at Windsor Girls' School, just 10 minutes to design the tribute for an open competition held by the Windsor and Eton Society.

Dressed in a heather dress and coat with matching hat by Angela Kelly and an amethyst shield brooch, the Queen received cheers as she tugged on strings to remove the purple cloth draping the statue.

She listened to the Windsor Girls' School choir, and chatted with Caroline and local dignitaries before receiving flower bouquets from well-wishers.

Caroline, who lives in Eton and was accompanied by her proud father Ashok Basra, mother Marian and 13-year-old sister Lauren, said the Queen had asked if she was intent on a career as an artist.

She said: "I am taking art for GCSE but I am not entirely sure yet, at the moment I am leaving my options open.

"The statue was influenced by contemporary art, I like contemporary art and contemporary dance.

"I thought that it might be a good idea not to do something that was too obvious."

The piece she designed consists of 59 spheres made from polished stainless steel and one cut glass sphere at the very top.

The Queen was greeted at the unveiling by Colin Rayner, mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

In a short speech, Mr Rayner told the monarch that the statue was an expression of the Royal Borough's special relationship with her.

"This year we mark 60 years of you as our Queen," he said.

"I am here to thank you for the wonderful support and encouragement that you have given to the Royal Borough, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth over these years, and tell you how deeply moved we have been by the Diamond Jubilee celebrations."

The Berkshire town of Windsor has a strong bond with the British Royal Family, which has been known as the House of Windsor since the First World War.

Its medieval castle is often said to be the Queen's favourite residence.

This year's Diamond Jubilee celebrations began in earnest in May with a pageant in Windsor which saw more than 500 horses and 800 performers pay homage to the Queen's state and Commonwealth visits.

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