Point of Interest

Duke of York Column

England / Europe

Located at the top of the Duke of York Steps on the North side of The Mall, the bronze statue of the Duke of York, designed by Sir Richard Westmacott in 1834, sits atop a 38m column. A tribute to Prince Frederick (1763-1827), Commander-in-Chief of the British Army and second son of King George III. Whilst the Duke of York did not record many successes on the battle field (the nursery rhyme ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ is commonly believed to be based on his defeat during the Flanders Campaign) he was known for his administrative reform within the Army and good character. In fact, the monument was funded in majority by soldiers donating a day’s pay. His reputation was tarnished however when a past mistress of his, Mary Ann Clark, publicly admitted to financially gaining off her relationship with the Duke by selling commissions. This led to a widespread clean-up of the Army and forced the Duke into retiring from his position. Whilst he was reinstated two years later, his excessive spending meant he died in debt. It is claimed his statue was placed on top of a column to get away from the claims of his creditors. 

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