The 96-year-old monarch said the monument, which celebrates the courage of the Windrush generation, is a “fitting thank you”.
She said in a written message: “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 Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are attending the unveiling alongside members of the Windrush generation on Wednesday.
The statue, designed by Jamaican artist and sculptor Basil Watson, depicts a man, woman and child in their Sunday best standing on top of suitcases.
Watson said his monument pays tribute to the “dreams and aspirations, courage and dignity, skills and talents” of the Windrush generation, who arrived in Britain 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.
“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.”
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.”
Additional reporting by PA
Source Link Queen sends message as Kate and Will open National Windrush Monument at Waterloo