Wednesday, October 21, 1998 Published at 19:32 GMT 20:32 UK
Memorial to Queen's lost love comes clean
Revealed: A part of London's newly restored landmark
The Albert Memorial, one of the UK's most ambitious restoration projects, has been unveiled by the Queen in London's Kensington Gardens.
The Queen unveiled the revitalised monument to her great-great-grandfather, the Prince Consort, amid a blaze of fireworks, which culminated in a pyrotechnic display of the words 'Albert Saved'.
Resting under a scaffolding cover for eight years, the Albert Memorial was a sad shadow of its former self.
The centrepiece, a great gold leaf figure of Prince Albert, had been in a poor state since it was deliberately blackened during World War I to prevent it becoming a target for Zeppelin bombing raids or domestic anti-German sentiment.
In addition, the memorial's marble statues commemorating the achievements of Victorian era were heavily stained and broken.
But on Wednesday, after a vast restoration programme which was largely funded by the government, its splendour was again on show.
Commissioned by Queen Victoria after the death of Prince Albert from typhoid at the age of 42, the memorial represents the spirit of its age.
The statue of Albert - designed by Sir Gilbert Scott - is said to be so life-like that Victoria used to order it to be covered by a black cloth whenever she drove past.
As a testament to a royal who died young and was much loved by his subjects, the newly-restored Albert Memorial might even inspire those who are still deliberating how to commemorate Princess Diana.
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