It’s a Statue of Prince Philip. Really. But Now It Has to Go.

The bronze statue in Cambridge, England, is 13 feet tall. The figure wears academic robes and a mortarboard. It doesn’t exactly have a face, since its head appears to be wrapped in a twisted cloth.

Who does this statue, titled “The Don,” allegedly depict? It’s, uh, Prince Philip. Sure enough, a plaque under the sculpture reads: “H.R.H. Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Chancellor, University of Cambridge, 1977-2011.”

But the artwork has not conjured up thoughts of Philip, who died in 2021, for many who have seen it. And the statue has also not met with the international acclaim accorded to Michaelangelo’s David or China’s Terracotta Army. To say the least.

In 2014, the year the statue was erected, Nadine Black, the Cambridge City Council’s public art manager, called it “possibly the poorest quality work that has ever been submitted to the council.”

Earlier this month, the council told the Unex Group, which owns Charter House, an office building in the center of Cambridge where the statue stands, that it must be removed by August.

In part it is for a lack of artistic merit: The order mentions the statue’s “harmful material impact.” But it is also because the statue was erected even though permission for it had initially been denied.

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