The statue – of a man, woman and child in their Sunday best standing on top of suitcases -was revealed at Waterloo Station on Wednesday to mark Windrush Day.
It was designed by the Jamaican artist and sculptor Basil Watson, who said it had been an honour to create the monument.
The Queen paid tribute to the “profound contribution” of the Windrush “pioneers”, describing the new national monument as a “fitting thank you”.
In a written message on Windrush Day, the monarch said she hopes the statue will inspire present and future generations.
Kate and Prince William have arrived at Waterloo station
Kate tried out her camera skills
The Queen’s message read: “It gives me pleasure to extend my congratulations on the creation of the National Windrush Monument.
“The unveiling at Waterloo station on Windrush Day serves as a fitting thank you to the Windrush pioneers and their descendants, in recognition of the profound contribution they have made to the United Kingdom over the decades.
“It is my hope that the memorial will serve to inspire present and future generations, and I send you my warmest good wishes on this historic occasion.”
The message was signed Elizabeth R.
In a speech, Prince William made reference to his and his wife’s Caribbean tour, which was beset by protests, saying they had “learnt so much” about “how the past weighs heavily on the present”.
He said: ‘Discrimination remains an all too familiar experience for black men and women in Britain in 2022.
Next year marks 75 years since the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks in 1948
“Only a matter of years ago, tens of thousands of that Generation were profoundly wronged by the Windrush Scandal. That rightly reverberates throughout the Caribbean community here in the UK as well as many in the Caribbean nations.
“Therefore, alongside celebrating the diverse fabric of our families, our communities and our society as a whole – something the Windrush Generation has contributed so much to – it is also important to acknowledge the ways in which the future they sought and deserved has yet to come to pass.”
The Government, which has provided £1 million in funding for the project, said it “symbolises the courage, commitment and resilience of the thousands of men, women and children who travelled to the UK to start new lives from 1948 to 1971”.
It also acknowledges the Windrush generation’s “outstanding contribution” to British society and is intended to be “a permanent place of reflection”, it added.
Waterloo station was chosen because thousands of people who arrived from the Caribbean passed through the station on their way to start their new lives across the country, the Government said.
The unveiling is one of dozens of events and activities across England to celebrate Windrush Day 2022.
Mr Watson said his monument pays tribute to the “dreams and aspirations, courage and dignity, skills and talents” of the Windrush generation who arrived with “a hope of contributing to a society that they expected would welcome them in return”.
He said: “My parents, along with a great many others, took the long arduous voyage from the Caribbean with very little or nothing other than their aspirations, their courage and a promise of opportunity for advancement.
The statue was designed by Jamaican artist and sculptor Basil Watson
“This monument tells that story of hope, determination, a strong belief in selves and a vison for the future.”
Communities Secretary Michael Gove said: “Seeing Basil Watson’s magnificent monument, it’s easy to imagine the excitement, hope and apprehension that the Windrush pioneers must have felt as they arrived in the UK.
“Overcoming great sacrifice and hardship, the Windrush Generation and their descendants have gone on to make an immense contribution to public life. Britain would be much diminished without them.”
Communities minister Kemi Badenoch added: “Basil Watson’s sculpture perfectly captures the spirit of Windrush.
“In it we see the strength, hope and expectation of those who arrived with little and yet gave so much.
“As a first-generation immigrant myself, the Windrush story resonates with me and it is important we recognise the contribution of those who have so enriched our country.”
Kate looked classy in a crisp white suit
Next year marks 75 years since the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks in 1948, bringing 500 passengers from the Caribbean.
More than 100 leaders from politics, faith and civil society, sport, culture and business have signed a joint letter, published in The Times newspaper, starting the one-year countdown to the milestone.
They write: “This is not only black History – it is British history. It should be something we all know and commemorate.
“We call on the Government and all UK institutions, from politics to civil society, faith, culture, business and sport, to step up and fully play their part next year.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK