Newmarket Racecourses are delighted to announce that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall will formally unveil the statue of King Charles II at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse as part of an official visit to Newmarket, the Home of Horseracing, on Wednesday, 22nd March.
The town of Newmarket celebrated a landmark anniversary of 350th years of the Home of Horseracing throughout 2016 and is lucky enough to boast a rich history and heritage, much of which includes key influences from the Royal Family over the years, especially during the reign of King Charles II.
Known as a keen horseman, King Charles II was pivotal to the establishment and evolution of Newmarket as the Home of Horseracing, and this specially commissioned statue was created to mark and honour his contribution to the Sport of Kings.
Amy Starkey, Regional Director, Jockey Club Racecourses East Region, said;
“We are very honoured to welcome Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall to Newmarket Racecourses for the unveiling of the King Charles II statue in his new, and rather apt, permanent home.
“It is fantastic that we are able to create a legacy and honour the contribution King Charles II has made to Newmarket as a town and also the sport of horseracing.”
“We are extremely grateful to Her Royal Highness for being part of this special ceremony which launches another season at the international Home of Horseracing.”
The statue, created by Victorian sculptor Henry Weekes, is an over life size replica of the original marble statue of King Charles II which is part of the Parliamentary Art Collection at the House of Lords and is displayed at the Old Bailey in London. The production of the statue was made possible by the Works of Art Committee at the House of Lords, who kindly agreed for a cast of the statue to be taken from which this replica was then made, Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, who made a very generous donation towards the production of the statue as well as and Frances Stanley, who raised an exceptional amount of money through tireless fundraising.
Commissioned in celebration of the 350th anniversary and to mark the importance of King Charles II to Newmarket and Horseracing, the statue was first seen by racegoers on the first day of the Moët and Chandon July Festival last year. The reveal of the statue celebrated a key moment in Newmarket’s annual racing calendar as it followed a special running of the historic Newmarket Town Plate, a race synonymous with the King following its inception in 1665 and its first running, believed to have taken place in 1666. The party involved in this initial unveiling included 2016 winning Jockey of the Newmarket Town Plate, Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, through QIPCO a major owner, breeder and investor in British Racing, Dr Cyrus Poonawalla and a number of direct descendants of King Charles II.